Sophie’s Apprenticeship Journey

My name is Sophie and I currently work for Fred. Olsen Travel as a Travel Consultant. I have recently completed my Level 3 Travel Consultant apprenticeship with Blue Sky. I was based in store at Coes throughout my apprenticeship, however at the end of my apprenticeship I gained a position at Travel Quest.


        What does your role involve?

My role involves finding the right holiday which meets the customer’s needs, whether it is a UK short break, or a tailor made holiday. Every day is different as we produce different holiday quotes for the individual customer. We make sure all the customer’s needs are met and ensure we exceed the customer’s expectations if they are asking for a detailed tailor made quotation as well as a package holiday deal.


        What was the apprenticeship process like?

Applying for an apprenticeship was quite nerve racking as I had never done anything like that before. However, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. At first I did find it hard as I had no idea of what I was doing or getting into but having the support from both my colleagues and Blue Sky helped me get through it. Having regular meetings with Jane, and all the other apprentices within the company, helped me to have the guidance and the reassurance of not being alone. I knew I could turn to any of them for help as well as my colleagues I was with on a daily basis.

Once I got deeper into my role I was able to add more information to VQ Manager, to record my off the job training. This included explaining what I had done and how. I was also able to attach evidence to back up what I was saying whilst making sure I was hitting the skills, knowledge and behaviour criteria.


        What is the best thing you’ve learnt?

The best thing I have learnt is to believe in myself. Deep down I knew what to do but I always wanted reassurance from a higher member of staff, so I knew I was doing the right thing. Even if I knew I was doing it correctly, I still wanted to have someone looking over to watch to make sure I was doing it correctly. However, throughout the time I have been at Fred. Olsen I have grown as a person; I knew I could do it and I just had to have a bit of faith in myself!


        What are you most proud about?

I am most proud of where I am today from when I started the apprenticeship. When I started I wasn’t confident in myself; I would doubt myself and overthink simple tasks and I would always be asking for reassurance from other colleagues. I have grown in confidence since being at Fred. Olsen Travel. My colleagues helped me to get out of my comfort zone. They made sure I was doing the best I could which I am very thankful for. Otherwise I don’t think I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for them.

Before my apprenticeship was going to end I was given the opportunity to have an interview for a role in another branch. It was a quick turnaround – I was told on the day that there were interviews happening for this role and I took the opportunity and went for the interview. I was very proud of myself for taking the opportunity. It was in a different branch with different staff who I had only briefly met if I covered in their branch.


        What would your advice be for those considering an apprenticeship?

I honestly feel it’s the best thing I have ever done. You are learning on the job and gaining all the skills you need for the role. By doing an apprenticeship it allows you to get your foot in the door. Sometimes it may be harder to get into the industry you want to work in if you haven’t had on the job experience. Personally I think it was the best opportunity for me. I studied Travel and Tourism at sixth form and college, but after completing apprenticeship I feel that I have learnt a lot more being hands on in the job rather than in a classroom studying. I believe you learn so much more whilst being in the work environment.


        What are your next learning steps?

Due to moving into another branch within the company, my next learning steps include learning the way that they operate their branch. Even though every branch is the same, every branch is run differently. Within the travel industry you are always learning about different destinations or operators you may not have heard of, so you are always learning in that respect.


I would like to say thank you to all the staff at Blue Sky for providing me with all the help I needed for me to be able to complete my apprenticeship. I am so grateful for everything you have done.


Fred. Olsen Travel – Travel Quest

Published 03/07/2020 & Filed in Blue Sky Blog