To mark National Apprenticeship Week 2018, Sean Francis has blogged about his learnings and experience working as an Apprentice at The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO).
'It’s been four months since I started work as a Level 3 Apprentice at TPO. Through the Apprenticeship scheme I have been given the opportunity to work and learn simultaneously while gaining experience from colleagues who are experts in their fields.
It’s fair to say that I approached this role slightly apprehensive, partly to do with the fact that this is my first venture into full-time employment. Thankfully my colleagues have helped to ease the transition for me and I have settled in well. As I look back over the last four months, I have achieved a number of personal milestones.
My work at TPO is varied and every day is different, which I enjoy. It is a really exciting place to work – especially as the needs of the business and our customers are changing.
I have been given the opportunity to work in different teams within the organisation. It is a brilliant opportunity to learn new skills in the area of work I want to be involved in. It has also helped me build my confidence.
I am currently involved with the enquiries function of the organisation, this involves dealing with all the applications that we receive from customers who want us to investigate their complaints, be it by post, email or telephone. My current role is to gather information and evidence from customers before we can decide if we can investigate their complaints. I have to ensure that I am providing the best possible service for customers complaining to TPO.
In addition, I have had a chance to be involved with different teams in the organisation and have helped at staff events, dealt with staff communications and assisted with social media.
I feel lucky to be given the opportunity to rotate around the organisation to learn how the different teams function. I’m looking forward to being involved with the Legal team and the more in-depth Jurisdiction checks.
I have joined the Pensions Ombudsman at an exciting time - we’re upgrading our IT services and processes to not only improve our experience at work but, importantly, the experience of our customers. We’re also looking forward to relocating to the new Government Hub at Canary Wharf, which will allow us to work in a more agile and flexible way.
Apprenticeships are an excellent stepping stone into the world of work and working at TPO has been a huge eye opener for me. For other young people interested in an apprenticeship, I would say 100% to go for it. It’s a really good experience if you want to learn and earn money at the same time.'