Sandra Laslau-Frumuzache- Customer Service apprentice
Employer: Barrhead Travel
Position: Travel Consultant
Apprenticeship: NVQ Level 3 Customer Service
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are you doing at the moment?
I am half Italian, half Romanian and have lived in the UK for three years now and I love it (apart from the weather)! I love the people, it doesn’t matter where you are from, people treat you the same, everyone is so nice and smiley.
When I completed my apprenticeship about two months ago, Barrhead Travel offered me a job in their team, here in Newcastle as a Travel Consultant.
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?
When I first came to the UK, I didn’t know what an apprenticeship was. In my country, opportunities like apprenticeships don’t exist.
I started at Newcastle College and completed my Level 3 Travel and Tourism course there. During my time at college, I was living here on my own, as my family were back in Romania. I loved Newcastle so much and knew I didn’t want to leave.
My tutor knew that I was passionate about Tourism and she knew Vanessa, the manager here at Barrhead Travel. She got me an interview for an apprenticeship here as soon as I finished my course and I was thankfully successful.
Why did you choose the specific apprenticeship at the company you’re working for?
At Barrhead Travel, they treat all employees the same, no matter where you’re from or your experience. You have the freedom to sell the holidays that make people happy and I love to make people happy.
How easy was it to find the apprenticeship?
Because my tutor lined it up for me, it was very easy to find the apprenticeship!
When I came for my interview, I was so nervous and I’m sure she couldn’t understand me, I was speaking so fast! Luckily she loved me, and I got the apprenticeship.
What did you enjoy most about your apprenticeship?
I loved that I was doing something new, working in an office is something I had never done before!
The staff here at Barrhead were so nice and taught me everything I needed to know here in store. I also loved communicating with people and customers. As English isn’t my first language, it was tough at first so knowing how to communicate with others was vital.
What was your highlight of your apprenticeship?
One customer booked a holiday to Cuba with my colleague but hadn’t mentioned that she wanted to go to Havana. The holiday she was booked on was too far away from Havana and she came in really upset, saying she didn’t know it was so far away. I managed to talk to some suppliers and get her moved nearer to Havana, meaning she could visit it on her trip.
After her holiday, she was so happy she brought me chocolates and a bottle of wine, I’ll never forget how grateful she was to me, it was the best feeling.
Any words of advice for anyone considering doing an apprenticeship?
I would recommend anyone to do an apprenticeship, why wouldn’t you?! In my case, I got full time employment afterwards! If you’re excited about something and know you want to do it, you should go for it.
It is different to college, you’re getting paid for the work you do which is a great thing and you are in a working environment which is great.
I’m so happy that I chose this apprenticeship, it has changed my life. I have become much more mature since doing my apprenticeship, you have real responsibilities and it is wonderful.
What are your plans for the future?
When I came to the UK, my plan was to study Medicine, and this is what I still what to do, but right now I’m loving Travel and Tourism, who knows I might stick with it.
I love it here Barrhead, my manager is so supportive and I have learnt so much from her. I want to be here for as long as possible!