In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, we chatted with our Employment Support Apprentice, Rosie Robson.
We asked her to tell us a bit about how she started her apprenticeship, how she’s adapted to virtual working, and what a typical day in her role looks like.
When did you start your apprenticeship?
I have been with believe housing for two and a half years now. I started with the Executive Team in September 2018 and completed my Level 2 Business Administration qualification. I then progressed onto my second year in October 2019 to join the Employability Team where I am due to complete my Level 3 Business Administration course within the next few weeks.
How did you hear about the opportunity?
I heard about the opportunity from a friend at believe housing when I was exploring my options after leaving school. They spoke so highly of the organisation and their team members which made me eager to apply for the role. I applied through the government apprenticeship website.
What made you choose believe housing?
After leaving school, I knew further education wasn’t for me and that I wanted to learn in a hands-on role. Whilst looking for an apprenticeship, I was considering what type of work I would enjoy and with me being a bubbly and chatty person, the idea of working for a social housing company really excited me. I figured there would be a lot of different departments I could explore and get a feel for. After further research into believe, the culture seemed very welcoming and a fun place of work. I knew I’d fit in straight away.
What have you enjoyed the most?
The thing I have enjoyed the most is meeting the amazing people and having the pleasure of joining two different supportive teams, gaining a wide range of experience. I have enjoyed seeing how far I have come and how much my confidence has grown throughout the years.
What have you found difficult or a challenge?
Working from home has been a challenging experience and at first seemed very daunting knowing I didn’t have the face-to-face support from my colleagues. To overcome this challenge, I have adapted my way of working to ensure I continue to fulfil my job role in the most efficient way possible. Working from home has encouraged me to work more independently and use my initiative.
How has the apprenticeship helped you?
Since joining believe my people/communication skills have improved massively by speaking to customers on the phone daily, which is something I dreaded doing at the start of my apprenticeship. Throughout my apprenticeship my confidence has grown as I have progressed from reading a script and phone calls being very structured to enjoying chattier and more informal phone calls.
My apprenticeship has helped me push myself to go out of my comfort zone as I have delivered presentations and training to small groups as well as chairing meetings, which were areas I would try to avoid.
What has your lockdown experience been like? How has it changed your role for better or for worse?
My lockdown experience has been challenging yet eye-opening in many ways. I contributed to the Covid-19 wellbeing calls which gave me an insight into our customer’s everyday lives and how much of a positive impact we make as a housing provider. It was a really rewarding experience and it was just lovely to have a chat to customers and see how they were getting on. There are areas of my role which have been adapted to ensure I am doing my job as effectively as possible from home. A lot of the changes that have been made worked out for the better and I will continue to do after the lockdown.
What is your role with believe housing?
My day to day role involves providing general administrative support to the Employability Team to ensure the smooth running of daily tasks. When a customer is referred into the Employability Service, I add them to our database and complete all their relevant referral forms. A significant part of my role is daily contact with employability service users. I am the first point of contact when a new customer is referred into the service and I complete an initial assessment form which includes what work experience they have, qualifications, if they are interested in any training opportunities and what type of work they are looking for. However, my role isn’t limited to this and can vary daily including other tasks like raising Sundry BACS payment to customers as well as training providers, referring customers to further support agencies and attending regular community centre and Job Club pop-up support sessions.
A typical day in my role
I start my day by logging onto Teams at 8.30am and saying good morning to everybody to start the day off right. My working day is never dull, and my tasks can vary throughout the day, which plays a big part in why I genuinely enjoy coming to work every day.
Usually, my first task of the day is to check my emails and complete any follow-up actions from the day before. After I have responded to all my emails, I check to see if there are any new referrals on QL. If so, I add them to our tenant database and create an individual case folder for them with all their relevant referral forms completed. After I have added the new referrals to our systems, I arrange telephone appointments via text/email with the customer to set a date and time to complete their initial assessment with them.
By this time, I am ready for my daily Employability Team catch up which lasts approximately 30 minutes, where I am allocated workload and we solve problems as a team. In our daily catch-ups, we also manage a caseload, which is a big part of my role, sending out final contact letters and chasing up non-engaging customers.
Shortly after is the wider Community Investment Team catch-up where we share updates of what we have got up to throughout the week and any important information to be aware of. Some of these meetings I have chaired and often volunteer to take the meeting minutes.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, my afternoons involved attending weekly job search sessions within local community centres and hubs. This also included community engagement talking to the local community to advise of our Employability Service and what we can offer such as all employment support and referrals to any specialist support a customer may require. During these sessions, I supported individuals with job search/IT and completed triage forms with new referrals face-to-face. However, my afternoons throughout the pandemic involve completing triage appointments over the phone as well as contacting existing customers for regular aftercare. After completing my phone call appointments, I update all the appropriate spreadsheets as well as QL and set follow-up actions for Claire and Joanne to pick the customers up after I have spoken to them.
The Employability Team have end of week catch-ups where we record any meetings/conferences we have attended. This goes hand in hand with the collection of weekly stats, which I have my own areas to report on. These stats go towards various reports, one being the quarterly report.
Throughout my working day, I raise payments for our employability customers for things such as PPE, travel expenses, work/interview clothing. I refer customers to further support agencies and link in with internal teams to ensure our customers have a network of support.
I finish my day by saying bye to everyone and recharge my batteries for the next exciting day. 😊
For future apprenticeship opportunities, please keep an eye on our website and social channels for new opportunities as they become available.