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Arco proving age is just a number!

Debbie Clarkson joined Arco in October 2021 as a Customer Experience Apprentice in our Customer Engagement Centre (CEC) and has been thriving ever since!

Today, Debbie, 42, shares her experience so far and puts to bed the all-too-common myth that, to be an apprentice, you need to be at the start of your career and in your 20s or younger.

What led you to apply for the Customer Experience Apprentice role?

I’ve always suffered with self-doubt. Telling myself repeatedly ‘I can’t do it… I can’t do it’. I’ve not come from an IT background, so I thought it would be easier and more effective to learn on the job whilst completing the apprenticeship. At the age I am, I was either going to do it now or never, so I went for it! I was keen for a challenge!

How have you found the apprenticeship so far?

I’m really enjoying it! I’ve met some amazing people here at Arco and the apprenticeship is helping me build my confidence whilst learning a new role, with new knowledge and skills.

What are you highlights so far?

How welcoming everyone is! I’ve not met even a single person who hasn’t been. Even across all the different departments that we deal with on a day to day. It’s just incredible!

The help and support we have had from our colleagues in the CEC has also been brilliant. They are never too busy to help. I’ve built some great friendships too and really grown close to people in the relatively short time I’ve been here.

A real personal achievement for me also has to be the ‘shout outs’ I’ve had from some of the managers since I started on the phones. I’ve been praised for giving great customer service and despite not knowing the right answer, still resolving queries by seeking support and keeping the customer well informed. This has really helped improve my self-belief in my ability to do the role.

Have you experienced any challenges?

Some of the learning we do through the apprenticeship doesn’t always obviously translate to what we do. I know as I progress further in the role and the apprenticeship though, this will improve.

I also feel I’ve found some of the more complex processes harder compared to ‘the younger ones’. My self-doubt doesn’t help with this though, I know. It’s a bit like a rollercoaster… one minute I’m riding high telling myself ‘I’ve got this!’; then the next minute I hit a dip and feel like I have no clue what I’m doing! The trainers and coaches are hugely supportive with this though, with side by side planned over the coming weeks to assure me I’m doing it right.

Would you recommend the apprenticeship route to others?

Yes, definitely! Learning on the job whilst getting paid and qualified just makes sense. It’s a great opportunity for anybody. No matter their age!


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