Head Office Apprentice at British Airways

Start Date:
Programme Type:
Apprenticeship - Higher Level (Level 4/5)
Review Date:
May 2019

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1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


I am a head office apprentice so every 6 months I change placements and roles. Over my 4 placements I have organised multiple events, for customers and colleagues including a Disney Land trip for the families of the Manchester attack, as well as visiting Johannesburg with Comic Relief (BA's corporate charity partnership). I was also based in a more operational area where I looked at baggage systems and how to improve the customer journey, this led to a project out in JFK terminal 7 where I supported a digital LEAN trial. Lastly I worked in the resourcing department where I ran cabin crew days as well as coordinating and running the Graduate 2019 intake campaign. Day to day there are a lot of emails and admin support to do, however I find I am often out the office at events / recces and meetings.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


Throughout the whole 2 years I have constantly developed on skills aswell as learning new ones. I have always seen myself as a people person, with good customer service, however this is something I have 100% developed on and furthered greatly. I have learnt how to adapt what I say and how I say it between different customers (premier card holders, general customers or recruitment candidates), similarly I have also created a huge network - both in BA and not - and from this I have learnt in what environment is best to act and how to get the best out of someone. New skills I have learnt is how to manage senior managers as well as communicate in a business, through a range of communication channels.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


I have loved my programme, the 4 placements allow me to see 4 very different business areas developing me constantly and creating the ability for me to be a strong BA colleague. This programme has also allowed me to experience a number of experiences I didn't think I would be able too, such as working in NY, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cardiff and Johannesburg. It has also challenged me to go to areas I wouldn't have if it was just one placement for 2 years. However, sometimes 6 months feels very short as it takes atleast a month to settle into a team and another month to organise the hand over.

4. How well organised/structured is your programme?


I think my placement is pretty well organised and structure. As a shell I think the programme is amazing, allowing apprentices to gain a lot of knowledge and experiences. However sometimes I think communication is not the best and as an apprentice there are often many managers and it is confusing who you report too, apprentice or placement manager. I think the communication between the apprentice manager and placement manager could be developed on, as sometimes there has been confusion regarding what we as apprentices should do.

5. How much support do you receive from your employer?


My employer In general and specifically my 4 placement managers have been highly supportive and I am very grateful for this. They have given me time to do my NVQ work when needed as well as ensuring I gain as much knowledge and experiences as possible, similarly if they or I believe there is an area I can improve them positively encourage this development (whether this means giving up their time or letting me have time out for a course or training).

6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?


My experience from my training provider has been underwhelming and I did expect more. BA themselves have been amazing however I think Outsource let down the overall apprenticeship. We weren't given much guidance at the start and I feel that we have to ask for the support rather that it being given to us. However due to my personality I have been able to finish my NVW early.

7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?


I think I have gained a lot more knowledge from my overall experience on the job then the learning. Some of the modules I found interesting and felt it was beneficial to look at BA and in general around important issues e.g. sustainability and management in a company, however some essays and units I feel are more tick boxes then allowing me to perform better. I don't think my qualification correlate's to my ability to perform but it has given me more information regarding the company and governmental issues.

8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)


BA hold a lot of events that you can get involved in, especially through Flying Start the charity - such as pub quizs and fashion shows. I am aware there is a running club and football team however I feel this is more the colleagues organising it rather than the company encouraging it. Although BA does allow for the advertisement of these activities.

9a. Would you recommend British Airways to a friend?


9b. Why?

Myself and my family were very sceptical about apprenticeships and I was the first in my family not to go to Uni. Having almost completed my 2 year apprenticeship I can 100% say that my BA apprenticeship was the best choice I made. I have furthered myself personally and professionally and have been supported throughout by BA and their colleagues.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to British Airways?

Be confident in your own abilities and sell who you are and not what you think BA want. There is such a wide range of abilities and personalities in BA, they want people who have passion and confidence in their ability as BA can do the training if there are weaknesses there. BA are a fair but hard working company, I am very grateful for my time in BA and hope I have the opportunity to stay on further.

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