Althea Van Zeventer

Customer Service apprentice at

Althea wanted to undertake this apprenticeship as she believes there is always room for improvement. She has worked in customer service for a long time but knew there was still so much to learn as it is a constantly changing sector that needs regular development of skills.  She says that she has learned so much in the last year on the apprenticeship programme, and in her day to day job she has found that the behaviours or soft skills she has developed can be applied in any situation that involves people, not just customers.

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I have found it quite easy to balance my workload and the apprenticeship, as a lot of the big assignments could be done as a learning session at work. Activities such as shadowing other departments and managers provided a great opportunity to develop extra skills. Many of the assignments related to the job I do and therefore could be completed during working hours. When we have quiet periods at work, we can request admin time to work on our maths and English assignments, and our managers were very accommodating of this.

A lot of the assignments can be completed by learning more about the wider business, so it didn’t feel like we were focusing solely on the apprenticeship – we had the opportunity to broaden our knowledge and interest in the business. My tutor has been amazing. She’s extremely empathetic and approachable. Your tutor is there to help you progress and provide constructive criticism, and Sophie proved time and again to be an amazing tutor in all aspects. I found the Bud learner management system that Paragon Skills use to be an easy way to document your correspondence with your tutor as well as submit assignments.

Althea’s thoughts on the apprenticeship so far

Due to working from home during the coronavirus lockdown, it has been hard to get motivated to complete my assignments. In addition, it’s disappointing we cannot continue with the shadowing of others and extracurricular activities we have planned. For example, I was due to launch a mini-workshop for our department to practice ‘avoiding escalation’ techniques. It was planned for the day we all started working from home. However, the circumstances have meant that I had time to complete a ‘dry run’ with several managers and now have their full support for this workshop to run when we return. I am excited to get back to normal and complete the activities we had planned.

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