My Modern Apprenticeship with Business Stream
02 June 2023 Reading time: 5 mins
Name: Rebecca Wilson
Role: Quality Specialist
Team: Resource & Planning
How did you get involved in a modern apprenticeship (MA) with Business Stream?
I found out about Business Stream’s Modern Apprenticeship Programme on apprenticeships.scot which was introduced to me by my careers adviser at high school. To apply for the role, I was required to submit a covering letter and my CV to a company called Limelight Careers, who help businesses like Business Stream to recruit specifically for MA roles.
After submitting my CV to Limelight, I had an initial interview with them to check that the job at Business Stream would be the right fit for me and with my previous experience working in customer facing roles, it turned out to be the perfect opportunity! Limelight then arranged my interview with Business Stream where I was able to introduce myself, share details about my work experience history and answer some relevant competency questions. I was really happy to be offered a place on the MA programme shortly afterwards.
How long did you carry out your modern apprenticeship for and what did this involve?
I started at Business Stream in August 2019 and initially went through an in-depth four-week induction process to prepare me for joining the Customer Service Centre teams. The training was designed to upskill us in more than just core processes, for example communication and problem solving, to allow us to really go the extra mile for our customers.
In order to complete the modern apprenticeship qualification, I needed to have a strong understanding of my new role and the work I’d be completing on a day to day basis. This was because, as part of the programme, I would be assessed on my role after six months.
I started my first unit assessment in January 2020 and completed my MA qualification by May 2020 (10 months after I started). I completed the latter half of my apprenticeship while working from home during the pandemic, which did bring along some additional challenges, however my managers and Limelight Careers ensured I had the support needed to successfully achieve my qualification.
What does an average day as a Business Stream Modern Apprentice look like?
My day-to-day as a modern apprentice mainly involved working in the fast pace environment of the customer service call centre, dealing with complex customer enquiries, and expanding my knowledge of the water industry and of our business each day. As well as my day-to-day role, we had a mentor at Business Stream who would give us insight into their own work experience and share ideas about how we can develop ourselves personally and professionally. I took part in regular monthly meetings with the other modern apprentices on the programme too, to catch up about how we were getting on and discuss any questions we had in relation to our unit assessments.
Can you tell us more about the modern apprenticeship qualification?
As part of gaining the modern apprenticeship qualification, I needed to carry out assessed units which were focused on different aspects of customer service, for example 'Dealing with customers in writing or electronically' and 'Organising the delivery of reliable customer service'.
To pass each unit, I had to answer various competency questions and back them up with evidence of work I had completed. The units are designed to break down the purpose behind the work you do in your day-to-day role, for example demonstrating the ability to adapt your communication style to suit the customer. I needed to explain why this is important and use an example of how I did that in my day-to-day job. The work completed as part of my modern apprenticeship was then written up or recorded as a verbal discussion.
What did you enjoy most about working with Business Stream as a Modern Apprentice?
The thing I enjoyed most about being a Modern Apprentice at Business Stream was being able to develop a deeper understanding of Business Stream’s ways of working and how to achieve good customer service delivery. The critical thinking behind the unit assessments increased my drive to do the right thing and encourage better ways of working for myself and my peers. I also enjoyed that everyone was so welcoming. At Business Stream, we recognise our modern apprentices and other areas of the business, aside from the Customer Service teams, are keen to invite them along to team huddles, meetings or to do some side by side work to expand the apprentice's overall business knowledge.
What skills did you learn while undertaking your apprenticeship?
Completing an apprenticeship teaches you how to manage your time well for example, when you have a unit assessment deadline date, it is up to you to arrange time to complete the work required and gather evidence throughout the month in the lead up to your meeting. The apprenticeship also taught me that I am in charge of my own performance and development, as it won't happen without putting in the work.
On completion of your Modern Apprenticeship, what did you do next?
After completing my modern apprenticeship in customer service, I was lucky enough to be given other responsibilities within my role including completing quality evaluations on colleagues and delivering feedback. I also supported new colleagues joining our customer service centre, acting as a buddy during their initial weeks.
These additional responsibilities helped me to gain further skills and experience in my role, grow my confidence in supporting others and they improved my understanding of the wider business and market processes.
This meant that when an opportunity for a ‘Learner Support’ secondment role became available in the Learning and Development team, I felt confident that I could do the job. The role included creating and delivering training on a new business-wide project and I felt it was an exciting opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone of the contact centre and share my knowledge with new and existing colleagues. I applied and was delighted to get the job. Then, following the end of my secondment a year later, another opportunity came up for a Quality Specialist in the Resource, Planning and Quality team which is the role I do now.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your current role?
I love my current role as a Quality Specialist at Business Stream. My role combines my passion for excellent customer service delivery, improving customer journeys and processes as well as supporting and developing colleagues. My day-to-day role looks at all areas of our business, from customer telephone calls to the technical billing work completed in the background. I am driven to make positive changes to our business and this is the perfect role to influence that. I get to work with both operational and non-operational colleagues to make improvements, which has also helped me to build great relationships.
How do you feel your Modern Apprenticeship helped you progress into your current role?
My modern apprenticeship helped me throughout my career at Business Stream by building my confidence, knowledge and business understanding. By completing the apprenticeship, I was also able to demonstrate my ability to apply myself to a task and see it through to the end.
Would you recommend a modern apprenticeship at Business Stream to others?
I would 100% recommend applying for a modern apprenticeship at Business Stream if you are looking to gain experience in a complex but exciting industry that never gets boring. Not only will you learn about the water industry but you’ll also gain key skills for life relating to time management, customer service delivery, written and verbal communication and presenting to audiences.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to continue to progress in my career at Business Stream, influencing positive change. I also look forward to opportunities to support our future modern apprentices to achieve this great qualification, as well as grow their confidence and knowledge in a professional working environment.