As part of National Apprenticeships Week, we hear the journey of Thomas employee Rebecca Maxted, whose career was kick-started with an apprenticeship.
Rebecca Maxted, Senior Training & Events Co-ordinator, Thomas International
After completing her first year of A levels, Rebecca Maxted felt like she was at a crossroads, coming to the personal understanding that at 18 years old, she no longer thrived in a school environment.
I wanted to explore other pathways available and gain work experience, although I did not know how this was achievable.
In 2012, Rebecca made the big decision to not return for her final year of sixth form, but instead look for other opportunities. This led to her coming across an advert to join an apprenticeship programme with Thomas International. Intrigued, Rebecca looked into what an apprenticeship fully entailed and also what Thomas do and was enthused at the idea.
The concept of being able to study for a nationally recognised qualification, gain valuable work experience and earn money all at the same was great and exactly what I was looking for!
As part of the application process, Rebecca completed a number of psychometric assessments, including the Personal Profile Analysis (PPA), General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) and Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue). When invited to her first interview, she was given feedback on her assessment results.
It was enlightening to hear how accurate these assessments reflected me and my behaviours, in situations both at school and at home.
Rebecca continues, “I was thrilled when I received the phone call offering me the role in the International team as an apprentice and I quickly embraced working life, whilst studying for my Level 2 diploma in Business Administration.
As this was my first full-time job, I was very shy, however the support I received from my line manager, peers and senior management was amazing. From the moment I started, I was introduced to as many people around the business as possible, given plenty of information to understand the working world and my role and objectives in the team were clearly defined. Consistently using the Thomas tools was an amazing and eye-opening way of helping me improve, and gain both hard and soft skills."
Rebecca regularly met with her line manager to ensure she had enough support and time was scheduled in to allow her to focus on the studying part of her apprenticeship.
I was so grateful that people across the business were giving up their own time to support me.
After a year in the International team, Rebecca found enjoyment in the events side of the role and ultimately moved into the Training & Events team where she could get more experience in the areas she best flourished and continue her apprenticeship.
As Rebecca built on her skills and experience and developed her career, she was delighted to not only complete her Level 2 diploma, but go on further and pass at Level 3 too. Further success came for Rebecca, as within 2 years of being in the business, she was promoted to Senior Training & Events Co-ordinator.
My apprenticeship was key in kick-starting my career, and I was delighted to be promoted into a senior role, so soon as well. Using our tools throughout my apprenticeship and beyond has helped me to become more self-aware and understand where my strengths are, as well as where I can improve. This has been invaluable as I have progressed in my career.
More achievement came for Rebecca as she explains:
“At the 2017 Thomas Annual Conference I was absolutely overwhelmed and delighted to win the ‘Service to the Company’ award. It was absolutely amazing to be recognised in this kind of way, especially as I had assumed the award would go to someone with long service. However, it was made clear that this award is open to anyone in the business, no matter their age, experience or time with the company."
Rebecca (centre) with her manager Jenny Ovens and mentor Kirsten Farr, 2017
So what’s next for once-upon-apprentice Rebecca?
“As I enter my 5th year at Thomas, the opportunities are ever-present. My line manager and I are constantly reviewing my development and where I would like to go next in the business. We are also exploring the options of me completing further qualifications whilst on the job to help me gain even more experience and knowledge.
The journey I have had with Thomas so far has been phenomenal, from the experiences, the people I have met and knowledge I have gleaned. If I were to go back to school and make my choices again, I would not change anything.”