Independent furniture retailer Glasswells speaks about how apprentices have helped their business and we hear from apprentices Jonathan and Amber on their experiences. Thank you to the One Step Closer team, who have made this all possible.
We have recently taken on two Apprentices who started at the beginning of December 2020, we chose them from 5 candidates that had been shortlisted by West Suffolk College deemed to be the most suitable for the positions and courses available. Unfortunately, they had only been working for us for a few weeks when lockdown 3 came along, unable to furlough them they have both been working throughout alongside a core number of staff helping to maintain communications with our customers.
Amber has been working within our Reception team dealing with customer phone calls, as well as liaising with our warehouse team and suppliers to keep our customers updated on the latest lead times. Our supply chain has been impacted badly from lockdowns all around the world, this has meant we have had to give disappointing news to some of our customers who have been impacted by delays to their furniture arriving. Amber has dealt with these challenging conversations admirably; remaining calm, showing empathy to our customers' situations and giving reassurance. Amber has also been involved in our website sales and queries, which has been extremely busy throughout this time. She has picked up our systems and has quickly become a valuable member of the Reception team. Which is a great testament to her attitude to her work in the relatively short disruptive period she has been with us.
Everyone loves Jonathan! Jonathan is doing a Business Administration Level 3 course and is working in our busy buying office, he is helping put new products onto our website ensuring the imagery is sized correctly and writing product descriptions. Much of the work he has done has resulted in increased website sales for these products. He is now helping to set up new products onto our EPOS system, he has been a very quick learner and can work at a fast pace whilst maintaining a good degree of accuracy. He has become a very popular member of the team, through his willingness to soak up work and ask for more.
We cannot be more pleased with both their starts, it’s great to be helping younger people develop their careers and achieve some of their goals.
Business Administration Apprenticeship
I found the Talent Coach at West Suffolk College to be extremely helpful and friendly. As I hadn't had many interviews before and was quite new to the whole process, the advice and support I was given was invaluable and really put me at ease during my interview!
I had applied for six Apprenticeships in total but only one with West Suffolk College.
Everyone at Glasswells has been extremely welcoming and it's a pleasure to go to work every morning! My manager, the directors and my tutors at West Suffolk College have all been extremely supportive, ensuring I understand what's required as part of the Apprenticeship framework, and that this is accommodated at my workplace. My Apprenticeship so far has been varied and I've learnt about so many different aspects of the office, including website maintenance and design, SEO and digital marketing, purchasing and importing goods and office administration. I've also greatly built upon my communication and organisational skills, especially prioritising work at busy times.
Customer Service Apprenticeship
With the Apprenticeship process, the Talent coach not only helped by giving me advice on how to present myself in an interview but also spent time working with myself to build up and create a CV, which would stand out from the crowd. Also, the talent coach gave me mock interview questions to ensure I was fully prepared to answer a variety of interview questions confidently, clearly and professionally. Without this invaluable help, I wouldn't have been as ready and prepared as I was for my interviews.
I had applied for a few Apprenticeships around the area and was lucky enough to have a few interviews for these. Many of those were office-based including Administrators, working in property management and solicitors. However, I had always wanted to be in some sort of customer-facing job where I would be using as many valuable skills as I can. I finally found the ideal job for myself; working in Reception at Glasswells World of Furniture in Bury St Edmunds and was called for an interview at the company in November. A week later I received a phone call to congratulate myself on successfully getting the position of Apprentice Receptionist.
I really feel as though I have landed on my feet with my current Apprenticeship. The company Glasswells is a well-known company in East Anglia and has a great reputation. When I started on my first day, I was welcomed by so many lovely employees and fitted right in. Since then, I have grown so much in confidence, and as a person and I couldn’t be any more grateful for the opportunity they have given me.
An Apprenticeship is something I had always thought about. You gain the knowledge and skills needed for a particular role however, you also gain a qualification; something which can help give you a head start when applying for other jobs. I am lucky enough at Glasswells to have a secured position once my Apprenticeship is finished, and I cannot wait for my future with Glasswells to begin.
Not only have I started gaining skills which I never had thought I could possess, such as the ability to critically think about a situation, or analysing a problem and being able to overcome it, but I also have learnt so much about the company, including the great history of the company and all the amazing services we offer.
Moving from one county to another by myself was a big struggle and it has taken me a long time to feel comfortable and ‘at home’. I finally feel like I belong somewhere and Glasswells has given me the support and confidence to feel this way. I have made invaluable friendships with my co-workers and have fallen in love with a job where I can’t wait for the weekend to be over so I can go back to work and work to my best ability again.
I am so grateful for the opportunity the company and this Apprenticeship has given me and I would like to say to anybody who has thought about Apprenticeships or even maybe even the idea hasn’t yet crossed your minds, to research into them and apply. I definitely would do it all over again!