“To those considering an apprenticeship, I would tell them to embrace the opportunity.” Caspar joined British Airways’ apprenticeship scheme to help give customers a journey to remember. This is his journey from training room to terminal.
As a Customer Service apprentice at British Airways, my journey has been nothing short of transformative. Ever since I was 10 years old, I have been fascinated by aviation, and working for an airline has been my ambition. My passion for the industry only intensified during my Travel and Tourism Level 3 BTEC where I was proud to pass with Distinction.
British Airways, being my favourite and most frequently chosen airline, seemed like the natural choice to start my career. The company has a long and proud history of being an expert in global aviation, and I was eager to be a part of it. My aim in this role is to create experiences that customers will never forget.
The first day at my apprenticeship was a mix of nerves and excitement. Walking into the vast world of British Airways, I felt a bit overwhelmed, but my manager and colleagues went out of their way to make me feel relaxed and welcomed.
The apprenticeship officially began with a comprehensive three weeks of training. During this time, I delved into the intricacies of British Airways, participated in team-building activities, and gained essential customer service skills that would prepare me for my interactions with customers.
Initial tasks involved a week of shadowing colleagues across a variety of landside operations. I experienced the hustle and bustle of check-in hosting and ensuring customers’ first point of contact as they start their holiday is a warm welcome. I gained valuable experience at baggage collection, gaining insights into the crucial elements of the operation for reuniting customers to their belongings. It was like Terminal 5 became my second home as I navigated to airside training, learning about boarding gates, connections, and the high-quality service our customers expect in our premium lounges.
My favourite area to work was the Terminal 5’s B & C gates, which offer a variety of larger aircraft, and diverse cultures from its passengers. I vividly remember the excitement of working with the impressive A380 for the first time. I had previously flown on this aircraft to San Francisco several years earlier and now I was helping support with the operation. It made me appreciate and respect how much work goes behind the scenes by the various operations team that collaborate efficiently to ensure customers have safe and on time departures.
As I progressed through my apprenticeship, I have not only developed as a professional but also as an individual. The apprenticeship has been a catalyst for personal growth and maturity. The focus on customer service has honed my skills, and I have learned to treat people the way I would like to be treated.
I have been fortunate enough to help the Emerging Talent at various events such as Skills London, the UK’s largest careers fair for 14–24-year-olds. I had the opportunity to engage with students of all ages about the aviation industry and my role in it. It was a fast-paced event with over 20,000 attendees and gave me the chance to emphasize the diverse career opportunities available at British Airways. It’s important to remind attendees that there are wide variety of roles available, beyond pilot and cabin crew, for all skills sets and abilities.
There have been significant challenges along the way, but my training and supportive team have given me the skills I needed to overcome. With any network disruption, it’s a test of our adaptability and patience, especially when dealing with difficult conversations with customers. However, overcoming such challenges has been a testament to our resilience and dedication to providing excellent service.
Reflecting on the experience, I can confidently say that I have matured and developed. The apprenticeship has had a profound impact of my ability to problem solve and facilitate quick solutions to improve the customer journey. The hands-on experience at British Airways surpassed any theoretical knowledge I could have gained elsewhere.
To those considering an apprenticeship, I would tell them to embrace the opportunity. Working at British Airways is a unique experience that goes beyond any expectations. The company stands out in its commitment to transforming individuals and providing a platform for personal and professional growth. In the next five years, I envision myself continuing to progress at British Airways and work in the Network and Alliances team.
Looking back at the 18 months of my apprenticeship, I can confidently say that it has been the best thing for my career, and I am excited about what the future holds at British Airways.
By Caspar, Customer Service Apprentice, British Airways