Despite the sudden switch from the office to home working following the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19), Isabella Beard has relished every moment of her apprenticeship.
Having worked as a Team Leader at Tesco for almost three years, Isabella arrived at LiveWest in October 2019 at the age of 20 to start an apprenticeship in the Income Team as an administrator.
In her previous role with the supermarket giant, her favourite part was dealing with income issues – and so her transition to LiveWest was the perfect step on her career journey.
For Isabella, like all of us, news of the national health crisis engulfing the nation came as a huge shock in March last year as she transitioned to a new way of working.
LiveWest had just supplied new laptops to colleagues which meant staying connected in a ‘virtual’ capacity proved seamless.
And Isabella is thankful to the housing provider for keeping her safe as the nation was placed into lockdown.
She said: “Being able to work from home has played a key role in keeping me safe during the pandemic.
“LiveWest’s quick solutions to adapt to the new working environment has been great and being able to access incoming post from home has been a great advantage.
“The technology means we can all stay connected so although you are working from home, you still feel very much part of a team.
“Having close contact in a virtual sense promotes team unity and ensures we remain on the same wavelength as each other.
“It’s as close as we can get right now to a normal office working environment.”
Isabella thrives on being able to help and support customers with payments, direct debits and payments at a time when some people are facing economic hardship.
Isabella added: “It has been satisfying to help customers who need our support, especially with their payments during coronavirus.
“I have a greater understanding of customers’ needs. They put their trust in me to help them resolve issues and I get satisfaction knowing I can support them.
“I am lucky because my desire to support people is in line with the way LiveWest places a huge emphasis on providing positive experiences and services to help our customers.
“Being part of an organisation that is heavily customer focused, especially during the pandemic, has made me proud to work here.
“As last year was a challenging year for many, having the opportunity to help relieve stress for customers because of the necessary measures was extremely rewarding.”
Isabella is one of 39 apprentices currently working in a variety of roles at LiveWest, from plumbing to IT and development to customer services.
Isabella continued: “In my opinion, being an apprentice is much more exciting compared to other learning methods.
“Having the flexibility between work and learning life has its advantages. I am able to easily prioritise deadlines for both where I need to, as well as access all the resources I need from work or at college.
“I have found my apprenticeship very rewarding. I had not been in education since college and working towards targets and completing tasks has been a great motivation within my role.
“I have found that my course plays hand in hand with my job role. Doing practical tasks in my job for my apprenticeship has been highly beneficial to increasing my portfolio.
“Acknowledging and tracking your normal working duties can double up as evidence within your apprenticeship. You can contribute many work-related tasks to the course as it’s closely associated with the job role. It’s a win-win situation.”
As for the future, Isabella added: “I am looking forward to completing my apprenticeship in September and possibly continue studying at a higher level.
“For now, I would like to focus on gaining more skills for my role and learning more about the housing industry.”