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 Academy 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.