1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
As an Apprentice, my role is to develop into customer operations. I will rotate around different areas of the business which will help to increase my network of people and learn more about the role Volkswagen Financial Services play in the duration of finance agreements. I am currently being phone trained, have worked on presentation skills, learning more about the business, and worked on admin as well. This apprenticeship is designed to give more disclosure to what VWFS has to offer and to teach me to learn about how the business works. Each day entails something new and different.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The first skill I developed was my confidence. Being encouraged to be part of team engagement in customer services was a big confidence booster where I was pushed to meet new people and work in teams from the first day. My team leaders have been supportive and we have gone through targets to achieve in each department, in customer service my target was to improve presentation skills, which I completed by the time I rotated. I did this by presenting to Team Leaders and seniors and seeking feedback to make it better. My next goal in the new business department is to improve confidence of my phone calls. My Team skills and self development has improved a lot since doing this apprenticeship and I will continue to seek feedback and set goals. The company has 5 core values which are courage, customer, enthusiasm, responsibility and trust. I like to think these values align nicely with my own personal values which benefits my self development.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Even though the apprenticeship has some challenges like some slow starts in the departments, I am so far really enjoying my time at VWFS. This apprenticeship has helped me to develop skills that I thought where impossible, meet new people and build a wider network of people. This has also encouraged me to look more into my future and start planning a career path. For example I have already spoken with an advisor from financial crime to look at which path I need to go down to get there. Overall I really enjoy this apprenticeship as it makes working feel fun and is encouraging me to look further ahead. The studying aspect of it can sometimes be stressful as the content is a lot, but looking through that, with all the support I get, I know its achievable. I can say I have definitely gained more from this already than I thought I would have.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
At first, there was a lot of confusion in regards to what actual processes and teams we where going to be on, it was clear to me what department we where going to start in, but when I actually went to customer service, there was a lot of team engagement activities that I started doing because the structure was unclear to my team leader and other advisors, so the only thing I would change is the slow starting of each department, so getting thrown straight into training would have been ideal. This improved in the New Business department where we where put straight into a 2 week training course and trained on how to pay out and on phone calls. Although access has taken a very long time to come through, so getting the accesses we need sorted before moving departments would be more beneficial.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
So far, the support received has been strong. There are so many people I have met that have helped in different ways, such as team leaders which help me develop in the processes, colleagues that have helped if I needed to ask a question or was stuck, FWD training provider Emily who helps me to develop on the studying side of things i.e. creating a study plan. The other apprentices are also very supportive in the sense that we are all in the same boat and all trying to achieve the same thing so are all able to hep if someone is further ahead than the other. HR have also sent out meetings to develop LinkedIn and networking profiles and how to develop life skills.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
FWD trainers do provide support within remote and internal meetings, but replies on emails can sometimes be slow if I have any issues. I also need to be set more tasks and given a little bit more support on revision tips and how I can develop from this side of it. Meeting every month or so can be beneficial but I feel like increasing the amount of meetings and work I am set will be more helpful to get a distinction in my apprenticeship and to know what the future holds for example how to present my portfolio, time scales etc. These sessions are in the near future and will help me develop more skills, so the support from HR is very good.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The qualification is all around automotive finance, so within the information that we are given to learn is a lot of relevant information that can be applied to my day-to-day role. For example there is a lot of information around PCP vehicles, finance lease etc., and learning this in my revision helps me to use the correct terms to colleagues and even when on the phones as I can understand it better. It also helps me to understand different roles, issues and circumstances that automotive businesses like VWFS could be in at any point in time.
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.)
Team engagement is a very big part of VWFS. I was given an opportunity to be apart of this team in customer services which meant working as a team to come up with, plan and carry out different events for employees. This is important as people will feel involved and haver more fun at work which aims to improve productivity. Team engagement also create incentives for employees which makes them feel recognised and encouraged to do better.
9a. Would you recommend Volkswagen Financial Services to a friend?
It is a good business to work for as everyone is so encouraging, their values are so important and working on self development is very important. Not only is it a job but there is so much room for improvement and so much opportunity across the business, and being encouraged the way I have been makes you want to achieve good things
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Volkswagen Financial Services?
Make sure you come in with an open mind because the business is so big with so much opportunity and so many different roles, being narrow minded about it wont help you reach your full potential here. Try to align your personal values with VWFS culture and you will see so much more development in yourself. Working hard really gets recognised!