For National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we caught up with Rebecca Longstaff, our Apprentice of the Year 2020, to discuss her Apprenticeship at Sage and her win at the North East Contact Centre Awards.
Apprenticeships are extremely important to the contact centre industry in our region, allowing apprentices to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and allowing organisations to build workforces equipped with skills for the future.
Our Apprentice of the Year 2020, Rebecca Longstaff, is a real apprenticeship success story. Rebecca is a Digital Writer in the Digital Knowledge team at Sage, a fundamental part of customer services within the organisation.
After her successful apprenticeship, she was awarded a full-time role within the team and was nominated for NECCA by her colleagues, who said she showed an incredible amount of innovation during her apprenticeship as well as bringing a sense of fun that re-ignited the team during a tough year. The judges described her as a perfect example of the benefits apprenticeships offer to individuals and organisations - and were impressed by her dedication, passion, spirit, and determination to give amazing customer service.
We caught up with Rebecca and asked her why she chose an Apprenticeship. "After leaving school, I wasn't too sure about what I wanted to do, so I decided to stay on at my schools Sixth Form College. This is when I found more out about Apprenticeships and Sage. Although I did get accepted to study Computer Science at University, I had always liked the idea of an Apprenticeship where I could start earning my own money and developing my skills."
"My first day I was pretty nervous, as I'm sure anyone would be on their first day of a new job! Luckily, we had an induction period that allowed all the apprentices to get to know each other and ease us into life at Sage. Before starting Sage, I had the opportunity to visit for work experience, so I had a good idea on what working at Sage was like. When I started, it was slightly different from what I remembered, and training was completely different than I'd imagined.
I've learned a lot at Sage, including communication, people, and a wide range of software skills. All things that I couldn't have learned without being in the workplace environment."
The winners of NECCA are usually announced at a glittering Awards dinner at Ramside Hall, but last year the Awards took place in the form of an online ceremony for the first time, with finalists dialling in from home. We asked Rebecca how she celebrated and how she felt about winning. She said "I celebrated at home with a lovely Chinese takeaway and a bottle of prosecco from Sage!
Winning the award was a great achievement and I'm very proud! Although it wouldn't have been possible without my amazing team and manager, who gave me great opportunities within my apprenticeship, allowing me to have real responsibilities and feel like a valued member of the team."
Finally, we asked Rebecca what she would say to anyone thinking about starting an apprenticeship in the contact centre industry "Apprenticeships are a great way of getting the skills you need to have a great career! When starting any roll remember, no questions are silly, and the lessons you learn through failure is what will help you succeed."
Nominations for the North East Contact Centre Awards 2021, including our Apprentice of the Year category, will open in Spring. For full information go to www.necca.co.uk
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The article was published as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2021. For more information on apprenticeships see https://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/