To mark National Apprentice Week, we caught up with two of our apprentices, Sarah and Sheena, to see how they are finding their time at CitySprint so far.
In line with the 'empowering our people
' pillar of our CSR commitment
, we have onboarded a number of apprentices across the business to gain experience in their chosen business area, which supports the academic tuition provided by Hawk Training.
We caught up with Sarah Fell, Business Admin Apprentice in Leeds
and Sheena Dias, Business Admin Apprentice in Heathrow
, who are both four months into their apprenticeship programmes.
What vital skills have you adopted during your time so far at CitySprint?
SF: Beyond allowing me to test the skills I had already, the most important thing I’ve gotten from my time at CitySprint is experience in an office environment. Coming from retail, it wasn’t something I’d ever done before, and having the opportunity to adjust to a new field with CitySprint has been invaluable.
SD: I was new to Logistics, I came from a very different background, so everything that I learned in here was new to me. It has been a fair challenge, but a very good, happy one. I was in customer service, but this experience has shaped me. I had a fear of talking to customers, especially on the phone which I have overcome. It looks easy for the first time from a distance, but when you get into it, there's a lot to learn for a new person in the field and it challenges you in all aspects.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
SF: It’s been a shift to a whole new set of customer service skills and was absolutely an adjustment for me. It felt like I was off to a rocky start, especially on the phones dealing with customers, but by all accounts, I was doing a perfectly adequate job. So, I guess the challenges were twofold—both the new skills and the confidence in my abilities. Confidence being the big challenge.
SD: As I was new to the experience, everything was a challenge, booking a simple job was pretty challenging for the first time. My most difficult challenge that I overcame was getting on the phones and taking customer bookings, the rest I was comfortable with. It’s only the fear that I might mess up a booking and lose a client that made me lose confidence but I am blessed to have such a lovely team to encourage me and my manager always had faith in me. They all made me feel at ease and it’s because of their confidence in me that I can now take customer and driver calls without fear.
Are there any top tips you would give someone looking to start an apprenticeship?
SF: Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions. Make your time at work as productive as you can, both with work and your studying. Try to keep ahead of your apprenticeship tasks if you can. Take your lunch breaks at all costs. Your colleagues are probably not as scary as you think they are.
SD: I think I would like to say that this is a learning phase just like anything else, you’ve got to be patient, and keep educating yourself. Time management is of absolute importance, as the working and studying takes a lot of energy if not planned properly. At the same time, take delight in learning something new, be prepared for all the challenges and keep motivating yourself. Keep a record of what you learn, as that helps you to reflect when you forget something, as well as helping in your project work. At the same time enjoy the new phase of life, de-stress yourself from time to time and seek assistance whenever needed. The reality is you will mess up but take account of your mistakes and the feedback given to you and try again. It’s about being positive.
Who has played an important role in your personal development at CitySprint?
SF: Other than my line manager Andy, I’m immensely grateful for my colleagues, Ryan and Chloe. They’ve put up with so many idiotic questions from me as I’ve learned this job with good grace and have shown me a lot of tips and tricks to get me up to speed.
SD: I was assigned a lovely mentor, Jon Kidd, by my Manager Darren McCartney, to teach me everything that I have learnt so far. For the things that my mentor is unable to support with, there are other colleagues who have contributed to my development, namely Nazum Igbal, Andrew Fogden, Gary Rodrigues, Shelley Smith, Paul Ballinger. I was not the easiest person to coach, I asked a lot of questions, so they have been patient with me during this time. I’m still in the learning process, I ask a lot of questions to everyone, and I am still eager to learn - my hunger for knowledge drives me. My Manager’s faith in me has pushed me to work hard, he is a wonderful manager. The entire team in CitySprint Heathrow are an absolute delight to work with, they are always ready to help you when needed, and are patient and motivating when you’re down. It's an overall positive environment in here! Whenever I get caught up in a problem, I always seek assistance from everyone. So, I think it’s safe to say that everyone contributes a little bit towards helping me achieve my goal.