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National Apprenticeship Week

Chloe - life as an apprentice

Chloe Harper

My name is Chloe Harper, I am in my second year as an apprentice with the Council and I work with the Looked After Children’s/Permanency (LAC/PERM) and Children’s Disability Team (CDT) as a front office administrator.

I started my apprenticeship in September 2017. At the time I was based at Logan Road, but in November 2017, the team moved to Broadgate House. I have completed my level 2 apprenticeship and now I am five months into my level 3 apprenticeship.

Within my apprenticeship, I work one day at college and four days in the workplace. On my days at college, I check in with my assessor to see if she has any extra work for me to complete or if I should continue what I’m doing. As I have completed my mandatory units, I am in independent study from 8.30am-5pm. It might seem a long day however you do get a lot completed. Being at college, there is always support from the assessor if I am struggling with the work I’m doing.

Onto a work day...

On Wednesdays, I need to be in the office and ready to start at 8.30am which means I’m usually in the office at 8.15am.

8.15am – I walk into the office I share with two other teams; Safeguarding and the PAs. Next, voicemail is turned off and I ‘hunt’ into the phone line (which basically means I can take calls). Whilst the phones are quiet and my laptop boots up, I open up the cupboards so the rest of the admin team can access any folders or stationery which they need.

I go into the LAC/PERM office, where social workers, managers and other staff my admin team support are based and check the duty diary to see which manager and which social workers are on duty for the day. Once I have LAC/PERM duty, I go back into the office to check our telephone folder to see who is on duty for the CDT team. I let my other team members know who duty is for the day and head back to my desk.

RING RING” - The minute we hear that noise, it means anything can happen. Speaking to customers can be sometimes challenging but most of the time we know who the person is and what it is regarding. As part of our role we still ask just to make sure, the last thing we want is to break confidentiality and put people at risk. There is not a specific number of phone calls that we get, it depends whether the phone lines are busy or quiet, but most of the time they are busy and we can take anything between 50 and 100 calls between us a day.

Whilst the phones are quiet, I look through the functional mailboxes. This is one of our duties as front office staff as we track and complete tasks for the social workers and managers. We have two functional mailboxes; one for the LAC/PERM team and one for CDT team.

The main tasks I complete throughout the day are:

  • Answering the phones
  • Taking messages from customers to send to social workers/managers
  • Updating telephone lists and distribution lists
  • Ordering and returning files to and from Iron Mountain
  • Dealing with incoming and outgoing post
  • Helping social workers with IT problems and showing them how to do tasks for themselves
  • Booking meeting rooms
  • Maintaining stationery supplies and ordering when needed
  • Making sure the office printers are working and reporting as needed
  • Monitoring mailboxes

All of us in the admin team get on really well - we’re like a family, making me the 'baby of the group', as my manager says. We support each other; cheering each other up when we’re down, swapping tasks and phones when one of us are busy and most importantly getting the job done.

Once the Godiva clock hits 5pm, then it’s the end of another day. The phones are logged off and the voicemail goes on until 8.30am the next day.

Highlights of being an apprentice

Being a part of Coventry City Council as an apprentice, there has been a lot of highlights on my journey. Some of my highlights are:

  • Working with a great team who has made me feel welcome from the first day
  • Gaining more qualifications - The main goal when I was completing my Level 2 apprenticeship was achieving my Level 2 Functional Skills in English, this took me 5 years to achieve through school and eventually I passed with the support given through this apprenticeship
  • Developing my confidence
  • Making new friends

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