“Being an apprentice has inspired me and shown me I can do anything I put my mind to”
We’re celebrating National Apprentice Week (March 6-10th) here at Sage. Since 2012, we have offered apprenticeship opportunities across our Manchester and Newcastle offices, in areas such as Administration, Customer Service, IT, Finance, Marketing and Product Development.
Since its launch, our apprenticeship scheme has grown steadily and last year saw Sage offer 56 new opportunities. Already some of these apprentices are in permanent roles and many are progressing to their next level of their qualification with us.
We asked one of our brilliant apprentices from our 2016 intake, Nicole O’Hagan, 20, Sales Account Manager, to tell us more about what being an apprentice is like, here at Sage.
“A lot of people ask me why I chose an apprenticeship over some of the more ‘traditional’ learning streams, such as sixth form or college. Well, I did one year at sixth form and realised I wanted to get into the working world. Actually, my first apprenticeship was in mechanical engineering. I did this for two-three years building great social skills in a male dominated environment, but ultimately, working on a factory shop floor was not for me as I could see no way of furthering myself there.
I quickly realised I wanted to be a part of a company that would value and encourage me to build my career. I heard of Sage’s apprenticeship programme through family and friends. I knew they nurtured and rewarded their employees well. I have always wanted to work for a company where I feel proud to tell people that I work there and this is something Sage makes me feel.
I’m a sales apprentice and my daily tasks involve ringing customers directly and building relationships with them. I have undergone lots of sales methodology and product training so I can have good, fluent, value-added conversations with customers, which helps me talk about the software solutions that will best suit their needs. Some may think what I’m about to say is a little unusual but I absolutely love being set sales targets as it keeps me driven and motivated all the time. It’s important to me that you are rewarded on how well you perform and that is something Sage offers well.
Despite only having worked at Sage for a matter of months I have been lucky enough to celebrate lots of successes. The support I’ve had from the management team here has been fantastic too helping me achieve even more. One of the pieces I am proudest of is that I have had the amazing opportunity of being part of the Shadow Board. This Board essentially ‘shadows’ the UKI Exec Board and is set projects to work on in addition to everyday jobs. We often attend meetings, give our own feedback and put together action plans of anything needed to support the Exec Board in delivering against our business strategy.
The job is completely not what I thought it would be. I thought it would be a scripted call centre role and I could not have been more wrong. The sales role is so motivating and you can get to put your own spin on things, such as tweaking how you engage with customers, which I love. There are so many different pathways I could follow in this role and endless opportunities if I work hard enough. I am so happy in the job I am in.
For me, being an apprentice represents the best of both worlds. It gives you hands on experience, a practical education and the ability to earn your own money all in one. I could not recommend an apprenticeship enough! It has honestly inspired me and shown me I can do anything which I put my mind to.
Working somewhere where you are encouraged to reach your potential means you begin to believe in yourself and go above and beyond what you think your limits are. I would love to one day be in a managerial role and this job has taught me it can be possible if I work hard.”
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