Business Admin Apprentice at Unity Partnership in Oldham
21 year-old, Oldham resident Laura Hughes started her apprenticeship with Unity Partnership in April 2011. Previously, Laura was unsure of what career path to take until a family relative managed to organise some work experience in office administration with Greater Manchester Police. After 2 months of volunteering Laura gained paid employment there through the previous Government’s Future Jobs Scheme.
Upon completion of her time at Greater Manchester Police Laura signed up to the Oldham College’s apprenticeship programme and was encouraged to apply for Business Admin Apprenticeship role at Unity. Laura joined the corporate services team at Unity working under the office manager to maintain the smooth running of a busy office and reception.
Laura writes of her experience as an apprentice: “Doing an apprenticeship has been great. It has allowed me to continue my education and gain my NVQ level 2 qualifications as well as increase my work experience base. Work based learning has always suited me better; developing skills and being assessed through doing real office tasks... plus it helps to be getting paid while doing it”.
Laura now plays a key role in providing good customer service; welcoming visitors, responding to customer queries over the phone, through email and in person. She is also responsible for receiving, logging, distributing and sending post, booking meeting rooms and creating staff ID badges for the Council to name just a few activities. Laura recalls her first day at Unity: “I was so nervous on my first day, I didn’t realise how big the office was and there were so many people. Brenda (Unity’s Office Manager) was really friendly though and patient with me as she showed me how to do a lot of tasks even though I could see she was busy.”
Laura is fast approaching the end of her apprenticeship. When asked what she had found the most challenging aspect she answered “Whenever Brenda goes on holiday! Because, I am on my own and sometimes you can get the strangest customer queries at reception or over the phone but the people who sit around me are always available to help – even if they don’t know the answer either.”
Unity has a strong commitment to creating apprenticeships across its business. Since May 2011 Unity has employed eight in call centre and reception and admin support roles and has plans to employ many more in various other roles in the coming months and years.
David Knight, Community Liaison Officer at Unity recognises the value apprenticeships deliver not only to the individual but to the business as well. “Apprentices bring a new dynamic and freshness to a team. They have a great drive to excel in their chosen field and help us in continuing to tailor our workforce to be effective and efficient in its unique setting”.
About Unity Partnership
Unity Partnership is a joint venture partnership between Oldham Council and Mouchel. Employing approximately 450 staff, Unity delivers highways and engineering, property, transactional, ICT and customer services to Oldham Council and other clients in Greater Manchester.
For more information you can visit our website at www.unitypartnership.com