By Ellis Frankland, Co-op Apprentice

I’m Ellis Frankland. I’m 19 and I’ve recently started my Level 2 Customer Service Practitioner apprenticeship. Previously I attended Connell Co-op College where I studied on the Young Business Leader Programme.

When I started at Connell, it was called Connell Sixth Form College. I watched it transition to Connell Co-op College, and it was a really positive change. The overall experience at Connell was great and they supported me brilliantly through the pandemic and the mental health issues I was having. What’s more, it led me to enrolling in the Young Business Leaders programme.

On the programme, the three paid placements I did gave me experience of different business sectors. My first placement was in Record to Report. I found it a little tough as we had to do it from home and during this time, I experienced mental health problems. The mentors we had on that placement were supportive though and helped me through some of the issues I was experiencing. They made it clear that if I needed anything, I was always able to call them.

Next up was Fleet and similarly to Record to Report, everyone I spoke to was really helpful. It was also my first time in Angel Square which was a big bonus. The third and final placement was in Sales and Service where learning about how the call centre operated was particularly interesting.

The programme significantly increased my confidence. The main thing I learnt was the workplace isn’t as intimidating as some may think, especially here at Angel Square. Everyone’s so welcoming and never at any point did I feel like a college student on a work placement. I felt like I was a part of the team.

During the programme, I became aware of the apprenticeship opportunity in Sales and Service. My previous experience at Connell Co-op College and on the Young Business Leaders programme helped me during the application process. Not only could I talk about my relevant work experience, but my confidence had improved meaning I felt relaxed in the interview itself.

My first week was a hectic but a really enjoyable one. On Wednesday I had an interview with Times Radio in light of The Ghosted Generation Report, where I talked about the opportunities and experience I have gained with Co-op. I then went to a meeting with nine other apprentices where we were joined by the Minister for Apprenticeships, Gillian Keegan MP. It was great to hear about how and why other colleagues became apprentices, and to learn more about the different apprenticeships Co-op provide.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be training and learning about our Funeralcare services. After that I’ll be working in our contact centre, where I’ll be answering calls from our customers. I’m feeling optimistic about the future and I’m so happy I’ve managed to land a role at Co-op. If I work hard and make the most of my opportunities, I really feel the possibilities are endless here.

I’d wholeheartedly recommend a Co-op apprenticeship to anyone considering it. There’s no downside to an apprenticeship as you’re being paid to get a qualification. You’ll learn so many valuable skills and it’ll lead to fantastic opportunities in the future.

If you’re interested in learning more about our range of apprenticeships, click here.

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Thank you Ellis for such a skilfully written and informative blog: you are clearly already a brilliant example of the benefit of the co-op approach to apprenticeships. Good luck.

    For me it’s important to realise that this experience exemplifies why co-op‘s are more than just a consumer“brand“. Of course, those original Rochdale pioneers were first of all concerned about quality food at fair prices and that’s, even now, key to the co-op produce offering. But as those original pioneers quickly realised the product was only part of a movement. Over the past few years I’ve been privileged to see coops find their roots. Our place in the community has never been more important than during the Covid crisis – whether it was our food stores maintaining supplies in difficult circumstances and getting them to housebound people, ratcheting up our commitments to food share and community food banks, the incredible investment of over £20 million through the local causes scheme. And so much more. Not forgetting colleagues in co-op funeral care who face unprecedented situations.

  2. For me, this is where the Values and Principles underlining a Co-op come into their own. I hope the programme for apprenticeships continues to expand and we can give more young people that start at work which they truly deserve.

  3. Loved meeting you when the Minister visited 1AS last week. You were a brilliant ambassador for the Co-op and the apprenticeship programme.

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