Call centre staff at a training provider have enrolled onto an apprenticeship programme to improve their skills.
Twenty workers at Intraining, part of NCG (formerly Newcastle College Group) have also joined the programme so they can offer support to those inquiring about apprenticeships.
Each apprentice will be “assigned two hours of assessment time and two hours study time” each month of the year-long programme.
However, it is not clear how much and for how long training will take place, with the provider saying it will depend on the “need of the individuals”.
An Intraining spokesperson said: “The majority of the staff are up skilling through the apprenticeship scheme; although most are new to the business.
“One member of staff has been recruited as an apprentice.
“The apprenticeship will be delivered over an average of 12 months; dependant on individuals prior learning.”
She also added: “As one of the country’s leading training providers, Intraining encourages all staff to continually develop themselves.
“Contact Centre staff on the apprenticeship programme will be rigorously assessed against the apprenticeship framework and receive new training to support them in acquiring new skills, enabling them to gain a nationally recognised qualification.
“Any training required to support staff in completing the apprenticeship will be delivered accordingly (although much of this will be work based learning) and the length of time will be dependent on the needs of the individual.”
The majority of the Intraining team are working towards an intermediate apprenticeship in customer service, while the contact centre manager, Maureen Matheau-Raven, is undertaking an advanced apprenticeship in management.
She said: “Those working in call centres are often perceived as unskilled workers and nothing could be further from the truth.
“It takes a great deal of competence to be able to handle the high volume and wide ranging queries we receive.
“Each team member speaks to many different people about apprenticeships every day. We felt it was important for them all to have a thorough understanding of what an apprenticeship actually entails through all stages of the process.”
The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) said: “The apprenticeship programme is the government’s main work based training solution and currently does not distinguish between existing staff and new employees as it’s the individuals who are entitled to receive the training.
“We would expect all employers to engage with apprenticeships to improve the skills of their work force along with their future employment and career prospects and training providers such as Local Authorities, the NHS and Civil Service departments are no exception to that.”
She added: “It would be inappropriate to give details on an individual provider especially when no issues have been raised with us.”