I recently sat down with Jenny Wildie in Customer Operations, who’s one of the 83 people across the business studying an apprenticeship alongside their full time role.
FOR EVERYONE READING, TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CAREER WITH SBG TO DATE
Hi everyone, I’m Jenny. I’ve been here for seven and a half years now. I started off as a Customer Experience Advisor, then moved to nights, then moved to a role as a Social Media Advisor and recently I became a permanent Bet Team Manager.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT WORKING IN CUSTOMER OPERATIONS?
I love helping people and I love the culture. It’s a really tight-knit team and is lots of fun, but also challenging day by day too.
TELL US HOW YOU CAME TO APPLY FOR THE BPP MANAGEMENT APPRENTICESHIP LAST SUMMER
I had started to take on some more team manager type tasks whilst working in Social and as soon as I saw it advertised I knew straight away that it was what I wanted to do, that I wanted to be a team manager. It came at just the perfect time for me. So I applied, there was a video interview and a few questions and I was successful! So I started that in October.
WHAT DID YOU WANT ACHIEVE FROM THE APPRENTICESHIP
My main aims were confidence and experience, those were the two real things I wanted to focus on. I set myself the goal of becoming a team manager within 12 months and that’s exactly what happened. My confidence grew straight away through the webinars. You do get put on the spot a lot but it’s nice – it really makes you think in a different way. I became a team manager initially for verifications back in May so it happened quicker than I thought in terms of my development.
HOW HAVE YOU FOUND BALANCING YOUR APPRENTICESHIP AND WORK?
You get 20% of your working hours (for me it’s 8 hours) allocated for study. Back when I was in Social I dedicated every Tuesday to my apprenticeship and it was quite easy to manage. Now I’m a team manager there’s a lot more to my job so it’s a little bit harder to manage but I still get my 8 hours to complete the course.
FOR YOU WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF THE APPRENTICESHIP?
I’ve not been to uni and there is a lot of coursework involved so getting into the swing of the writing really. It is challenging at first but once you get through the first two or three modules you know what to expect and it starts to become easier.
WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST VALUABLE ASPECT OF THE APPRENTICESHIP
Probably the fact that it’s got me to where I wanted to be a lot sooner than I expected.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE APPRENTICESHIP HAS PREPARED YOU TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP IN YOUR CAREER
I think with the apprenticeship there’s a lot of coursework but also a lot of gathering evidence and actually practicing the theory. It means getting involved more and writing in your portfolio exactly what you’ve been doing and why.
WHAT SUPPORT HAVE YOU RECIVED FROM SBG WHILE ON YOUR APPRENTICESHIP
We have regular meetings with you to check on us, make sure that we’re where we need to be and also our own line mangers are in the loop with everything. We have 1:1 meetings with our mentor from the training provider and usually our managers come along to those meetings, too. They’re updated on what we’re doing, what evidence we have and what we need to get involved in so we have had a lot of support throughout.
ONE OF OUR VALUES IS ‘KNOW IT, SHARE IT’. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SHARE YOUR LEARNINGS FROM THIS APPRENTICESHIP?
There’s quite a few of us on the cohort and we’ve all been helping each other through it. We were the first group to do it so it’s been nice having other people to talk to. For example, one of the modules is about budgeting and isn’t something that we’re exposed to all that often. A few of us arranged a meeting with the finance team to learn more and as a group everyone went along. So it’s just about that – whatever you think will help you, make sure that other people get to benefit from that, too.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP INTO A MANAGEMENT ROLE?
If you’re serious that management is where you want to get to then I’d definitely consider the apprenticeship. That said, it is a lot of work, a lot of coursework, a lot of evidence to build and a lot of research so you do need to make sure that you’re prepared to make the time for it and use your time correctly. If it’s where you want to go though I’d say go for it. It’s definitely helped me and got me to where I want to be.
IS THERE ANYONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN TERMS OF MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP?
I think someone that stands out is Dom Price. She’s a fantastic leader. It doesn’t matter where you are in the business, she’s always got time for you. She’s very hardworking and it shows. I was here when Dom was a team manager all those years back and seeing her grow and how much effort she’s put in, I really look up to her.