What does it take to be a Customer Service Apprentice? We caught up with Callum and Aylis to learn more about their apprenticeship.
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?
Aylis: I studied health and social care at sixth form and at the end of my course, I realised I didn’t want to go on to uni, so I decided to look at other career paths.
Callum: Mine’s a similar story. I completed Year 12 at school and chose not to stay on; I wanted to get a job and earn. An apprenticeship seemed like a good option for me.
What attracted you to a career with the AA? How did you find out about our positions?
Callum: I saw a few different roles but chose to apply to the AA because it’s got a really strong reputation with customers.
Aylis: My mam’s friend works here, and she let me know about the new roles.
What was the application process like?
Aylis: We had to do a telephone interview to start with, and we were asked things like why we wanted to work for the AA.
Callum: The next stage was a group interview – me and Aylis were in the same group and I remember we argued! We had to do some team-building exercises and people were observing how we worked in a group.
Aylis: We also had to do a short presentation and I chose to talk about animals. I’ve had a lot of pets when I was growing up, including two goats!
Callum: My presentation was about business, as I’d studied it at school. I was really nervous because I’d never had to do something like that before.
Aylis: I wasn’t sure how well I’d done, but it must’ve gone well because we both got called up with offers the next day!
You’ve both been studying towards a Level 3 Customer Service Practitioner qualification. Can you tell us what’s involved?
Aylis: We’ve covered lots of different topics and we were given every Wednesday to do coursework that we’d submit through an online portal.
Callum: We were assigned a tutor who we’d meet with in person every few months, but we kept in touch on the phone and using Skype, which I’d never used before until I started work.
Aylis: We’ve just got our final assessments to complete, then we’re done! That will involve an interview with an invigilator about what we’ve learned, as well as some call listening.
How have you found balancing studying with working?
Callum: It’s been a good mix and better than being at school! Having a day a week to study also really helped.
What skills do you think you’ve developed during your apprenticeship?
Aylis: I’m so much more confident now. I was so shy; I wouldn’t talk to anyone. My mam and friends have definitely noticed a difference.
Callum: I’m a lot more patient now. With customers, you obviously can’t be snappy, and this has made me change how I am with everyone now.
What do you think it takes to do well as an apprentice?
Callum: I think you need to have the determination and be open to new things. Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone. It’s a totally different environment to school but I’m really enjoying it.
What would you say to a friend who was thinking of applying for one of our new apprenticeships?
Aylis: Go for it! I’d definitely recommend the AA – you get lots of chances to learn and the people and managers are so friendly!
Obviously your job and studying keep you pretty busy, but what do you like to do outside of work?
Aylis: I like to go home and sleep! I also love RuPaul’s Dragrace on Netflix, as well as eating out. My favourite is TGI Fridays.
Callum: I love KFC! I also enjoy playing for my football team, as well as being a Newcastle United fan!