Sydney Howard - Business Travel Apprentice

I thoroughly enjoy my role as there are many skills I have gained such as problem solving, time management, customer service, business admin and more.

Business Travel Apprentice | Clarity

What led you to enrol on an apprenticeship?

Initially, I focused on university as my main option and never even considered apprenticeship opportunities. During my college experience I was very university centric, after applying for university and completing all processes within the nursing field I began to get many responses not granting me a place on the course - I even considered other subjects to pursue so that I could attend university.

After I sat with my tutor in college I realised that the main appeal of university for me was that all my friends were going. It wasn’t something I truly wanted and the subjects I was looking at were not something I was passionate about or guaranteed for my future. After this I looked into alternative routes that granted me the opportunity to gain a qualification and a career that I desired.

What does your role as an apprentice entail?

As an apprentice, I have to get the right balance for my studies and the responsibilities of the job. I do this by taking advantage of the allocated study time that I am assigned each week as it truly helps me further my learning.

Within the job role itself, this can vary; we deal with clients, via telephone and email, who are looking to process travel bookings or itineraries for any future business travel. This means that for one client I can be looking at rail travel and hotel stays whilst creating complex international travel itineraries for another client. In addition, there are many additional products we like to advise our clients on to ensure their journey is as seamless as possible.

I thoroughly enjoy my role as there are many skills I have gained such as problem solving, time management, customer service, business admin and more.

What have you enjoyed most about your apprenticeship?

Starting a new job can be daunting and although I was already a confident person, I have really enjoyed growing and learning new things. I have become a part of a team that I really get along with and enjoy the relationship I have built with the clients; it makes you want to get out of bed for work when you know you can have a friendly conversation that day that won’t make the workload boring.

I love a challenge and enjoy not only solving a travel issue that may occur, but the work I am set within my studies. I ensure all work completed for Damar is to a high standard, as I always aim to achieve the best I can, and ultimately enjoy when others are proud of the work I have presented.

What has been a personal highlight of your apprenticeship?

I have had several personal highlights during my two-year apprenticeship. Clarity have nominated me for numerous awards which has truly honoured me. In addition, I was shortlisted for the 2017 annual apprenticeship awards by Damar.

I always appreciate the recognition I receive and strive to maintain these standards. I primarily perform to make others proud of the work I put in and the end product so to be nominated was very satisfying. Another highpoint of my apprenticeship would be getting a distinction in a recent mock exam, this was a highlight for me as it showed that all my hard work had paid off. I am always anxious about these situations, so it was a great relief to have done so well.

Have you got any advice for school leavers looking for the right career path?

My advice would be; think about what path is best suited to you, university isn’t the only option and it is a big risk to take if you are unsure about it. Although going to university can be a huge benefit, I have no regrets to the path I have chosen and the future career opportunities I have within my company.

At the end of my apprenticeship, I will have a qualification and a chance to work with a team I have enjoyed being a part of which is highly rewarding. I had no qualifications within business travel and had never thought of a career in this prior to contacting Damar… which I am really glad I did!

I would also say to any school leaver; don’t just think about the now, think about your future. I would never have even considered this to be my job, yet I enjoy the variety every day and I am thankful for the opportunity I was given!

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