Stacy Lewis passed her Level 2 Customer Service Apprenticeship with flying colours (technically called a Distinction) and is now working as a Receptionist at Jubilee Wood Primary School.
From leaving school at 16 to having her daughter at 21 and working various retail jobs at the likes of JD Sports and Tesco, Stacy’s confidence had been knocked. She was looking for a new opportunity that would offer her a chance to try something different, with flexibility and the ideal work/life balance.
“I was in a real rut, I thought that was it for me and I would be stuck in the same sort of jobs forever. I really wanted to go back to studying, but I’ve got a daughter and responsibilities, I couldn’t cut my income.”
When Stacy saw the job advertised, she was instantly drawn to it because of the convenient hours that would fit around school. The fact it was an apprenticeship was a bonus, although she wasn’t 100% sure what it really entailed.
“I was scared of the unknown”, admitted Stacy. “I didn’t know what to expect as I’d always assumed apprenticeships were for school leavers. I even asked if I was too old to be applying! I thought there was no harm in just applying so I went for it.”
“I was interviewed by staff at the primary school, and once I was offered the role I met my amazing Workplace Trainer, Caroline. We instantly clicked, and I was honest in that I wasn’t 100% sure what I’d got myself into, but she reassured me it was the right step for me.”
It took a while for Stacy to get back into the mindset of studying and completing coursework, as well as getting the balance right between being at work, being a mother, studying and everything else that life throws at you.
“It was daunting at first, but I had a fantastic support network both in and out of the workplace. Time and practice go hand in hand, it takes a lot of trial and error to find the routine that fits you. I knew that leaving your work to the last minute wasn’t the best idea, but it didn’t stop me doing it at the beginning!”
Connecting With New People
Stacy credits her success to her fantastic connection with Caroline, who was always on the other end of the phone with advice, or just there when Stacy needed sometime to talk to. “We spent many meetings just putting the world to rights, which was more of a help than I could ever have imagined.”
Stacy’s apprenticeship required her to have a study day away from her workplace once a week, with one per month being spent in college. “These days were essential in getting my coursework done. Getting back into education after 12 years is more difficult than you’d think – you almost have to retrain your brain to learn in that style again. I had to attend College one day a month which was a great opportunity to connect with people on the same journey as me.”
Throughout her apprenticeship, Stacy came to realise that she already had some of the skills required from her previous experience. “I didn’t realise that being able to perceive people’s facial expressions was a skill – I spent years doing this in previous jobs”, she said.
Stacy now works full time as a receptionist at Jubilee Wood School and is excited to see what else is out there to help her continue learning.
“If you’re looking for a change, or considering an apprenticeship, stop thinking about it – just do it. What’s the worst that could happen? No one else tried to talk me out if it other than myself. Ask all the questions – the Apprenticeship team at the college are so relaxed and happy to help.”