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Thomas Newby – Retail Apprenticeship

Thomas Newby – Retail Apprenticeship

Thomas Newby Apprentice croppedI started my Travel career at college but this gave me no work experience and I knew I wanted to develop my people skills. I did voluntary work experience in my local Thomson shop; and I decided I wanted to learn and work at the same time so I applied for the Apprenticeship instead. Being in a team environment has really helped me build my confidence and personality.

I work in a team of 7 people where we do rely on passing
trade, and so as a team we are currently working as a team to build a repeat customer base. I’m driven to succeed in sales, I research and look for the best deals, so I can offer customers the most competitive option immediately,  I also share this information with colleagues and my region which helps all of us reach our targets.

I ensure I ask customers questions so I understand their requests and can anticipate their needs to sell them the most suitable holiday. I’m attentive, confident and adapt my approach to suit customer’s individual needs. I’m the UK Holiday and Cruise Expert for my branch and I aspire to be a future manager and progress within Retail.

My Travel Apprentice Achievements

In my first 5 months I over achieved my sales targets and I’m in the Top 10 Apprentices for sales nationally an excellent start to my Apprenticeship.  As a company we have are also have our performance measured through mystery shoppers – my average score is 94% which is above my target of 80%, and customers have described me as enthusiastic, knowledgeable, natural, “vivacious” and helpful.

The Apprenticeship has given me knowledge of geography and marketing, I use these skills and the confidence I have developed to help me improve sales. I like to share my findings with my team members, this has helped me to be considered as a strong team player and build a great team ethic amongst us. I regularly post marketing ideas on Facebook and I also go to my old Youth Club and sell group weekends away for stag and hen parties.

I am really enjoying learning and other suppliers have their own training in addition to the apprenticeship which I’ve completed – Disney, Visit Orlando, P&O Cruises, Haven, Butlins and Warner. Completing these in my spare time has proved invaluable, I now know the suppliers well and they presented me with my own unique discount code that I can use for customer discounts. Passing the training has given me “expert” recognition from these external suppliers.

My greatest achievement though has been to build rapport with customers and build my own confidence; this has been a challenge for me in the past. Working in a team and completing so much training has really developed my confidence which has had a massive impact to me working in a very people focussed industry. From this I have been able to join networking teams and keep in touch with valuable suppliers.

I’ve won Regional Apprentice of the Year and passed my driving test too!

I owe my success to the skills I’ve learnt from my Apprenticeship. Especially the Principles of Customer Service assignment which is what has helped me interact and build rapport with customers more confidently. Unit 207 has helped my negotiation skills which made me sell more. It’s difficult to get repeat business in my shop so building immediate rapport and confirming the sale promptly is essential for success.

What has the Thomson Retail Travel Apprenticeship given to me?

For the first time I’m excited about my future and the opportunities ahead of me. I have improved on my Maths skills and I’m now working towards the functional maths skills level 2

I’m hard working and am passionate about what I do, working and completing my Apprenticeship has given me something rewarding in my life.  Delighting customers and really being able to make a difference at work has helped me become positive and enthusiastic for the future.

I’d like to be an Ambassador for the Apprenticeship programme because I am sure there are so many young people who have had similar challenges. With TUI I would explore opportunities to join inductions and recruitment days and be able to be an advocate for the Apprenticeship as I’d really like to share my experiences and encourage others.

What did Thomson Retail say about Thomas:

Thomas is a valuable member of the team; he’s hard working and will do anything to help anybody to ensure that the store is running to its full potential.  We have monthly reviews and whenever there are areas that need focus, Thomas will challenge himself to make marked improvements.

Thomas adopts a “can do” attitude in all areas of the business, he works extra hours at home to complete online training and create posters and other tools that will help him and the shop succeed. He is willing to give up his day off to cover when we are short staffed or if he wants to get involved in extra training.

Thomas is an excellent team member. With the hard work he puts in with his Apprenticeship, he’s always willing to share relevant knowledge with us too. Our team know that they can always call upon Thomas’ knowledge and expertise and consider him a real asset to the team and indeed, the company.

His enthusiasm is infectious. He is driven to succeed and consistently proves himself. He’s a fantastic team player and with his newly found confidence and belief in himself. Thomas will achieve his goals of progressing through to not only shop management but senior management within TUI.

Olivia Barnsley – Retail Apprenticeship

Olivia Barnsley – Retail Apprenticeship

Olivia Barnsley

Olivia (on the left) winning the People’s 1st Travel Advanced Apprentice

I started A levels at college but struggled with the workload and I needed to support myself financially as well, I then took paid work and moved out of education but I always knew that I wanted to build a career and having looked at the Travel Apprenticeship, I thought this would allow me to do that. I now have the opportunity to gain a qualification, earn money and work in an industry I’m passionate about.

I’m ambitious and keen to complete my apprenticeship; I’m aiming to be a ‘Super Seller’, excelling in sales. Being a Travel Apprentice means I now have some amazing opportunities ahead of me, being part of a large company like TUI and Thomson Retail means I can look to side step into other roles, including Cabin Crew and experience different places and cultures.

While completing my Apprenticeship I have the same duties and targets as my Travel Advisor colleagues – there are 10 of us in our team. We strive to maximise sales while ensuring our customers return again and again. I know I contribute to this because I already have many repeat customers and scored 100% when a recent mystery shopper came into our store.

Having started my Apprenticeship I am now full of confidence, I strive for more and I know I can move up within the company.

My Travel Apprentice Achievements

Within 6 months I’m well on the way to achieving my annual sales target and I’m the Cruise Specialist in my shop and again we are performing well against target. A lot of our customers are repeat customers and I personally have 6 customers that return to book their holidays with me already. My customer service has also been recognised, I’ve had ten 100% scores from the customer satisfaction surveys, I think this maybe because I personalise each enquiry. One comment was, “Thomson has a focused and enthusiastic adviser who is happy in their work and confident in their recommendations”.

What has the Thomson Retail Travel Apprenticeship given to me?

I’m eager to learn and like to exceed the amount of learning expected of me, there are additional  training modules to the Apprenticeship which I do in my own time – I am now an ‘expert’ for cruise because of the knowledge I have gained through online training.

I’ve achieved distinctions in my technical certificates for my Apprenticeship – my destination knowledge has surpassed what I thought I would be capable of, I’m proof that this knowledge transfers into sales.   I like to research at home and am passionate about Mexico and I have sold 8 holidays to this destination alone due to the research I have done.

I think my best achievement is getting 100% on the customer surveys, this verifies that I am doing something right!

The Travel Apprenticeship in Thomson Retail has really changed my life for the better, the Apprenticeship has improved me as a person, not just in the training I have received but also it has helped me hugely with my confidence both in and out of work. I’m really looking forward to further improving myself, in work and at home. I’m determined to keep achieving and surpassing my target, and want to further stretch myself to constantly be the best in everything that I do.

I’m a real advocate of the Travel Apprenticeship – I regularly speak to young people who come into store about this amazing opportunity.

What Thomson Retail said about Olivia:

Olivia is a natural at work and talks to her customers with great confidence, building fantastic rapport quickly so that our customers trust her. The knowledge she has gained in her Apprenticeship has given her added confidence, she has developed a brilliant sales technique, and delivers exceptional service scoring 100% on 10 customer surveys – truly outstanding.

Any learning Olivia receives she is quick to share with team. She uses her initiative and offers support and help daily. She wants us all to achieve our targets and does this by helping and sharing knowledge. Olivia is a true Ambassador for Thomson – every team should have an Olivia!