West Berkshire Training Consortium
Laura Stobo (Bayer Plc) Business Administration
A Business Administration Apprenticeship through WBTC helped Laura Stobo take the first steps to a bright and promising management career. Her ambition, determination to do well and overall capacity to embrace challenges have all played a part in her continued success. Her appreciation of just how valuable Apprenticeships can be to both individuals and businesses alike has been instrumental in helping Bayer adopt Apprenticeships and she has been closely involved in recruiting six new Apprentices to the company.
What got you started on the road to an Apprenticeship?
I knew from the start that university wasn’t for me. I had not found my ‘calling’ and didn’t want to spend years at university studying when I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do.
A friend of mine was working at Baxter Healthcare also on the apprenticeship scheme. I have her to thank for introducing me to them when they were looking to take on another apprentice.
It was a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable work experience at a reputable company with great future prospects whilst working towards a qualification.
Working as an apprentice I was learning new skills every day and also being able to demonstrate to my colleagues that I was a hard working and reliable asset. This meant that when opportunities arose within the business I was able to put myself forward with confidence.
How did WBTC help you?
WBTC were fantastic. I remember Janice used to come and visit me in my workplace to go through my portfolio. It was an enormous folder! The weekly ‘college’ day was great too and a great opportunity to catch up with ‘classmates’ also on Apprenticeship schemes elsewhere. We were able to support each other.
How long were you on the Apprentice programme?
I completed my training in 1 year and was then offered a permanent job in the customer service team.
Who is your employer and what is your current position?
I work at Bayer Plc. I recently moved into a new position as an Associate Customer Service Manager. I am managing the Pharma customer service team which currently consists of three valued customer service representatives.
How long have you been with Bayer?
Almost 9 years.
Have you been promoted at all as a result of your Apprenticeship training?
Yes, In June 1997 I was offered a permanent job in the customer service team where I worked as a Customer Care Specialist. I was then promoted to Customer Service Team Leader in February 2003. I then left the company in 2004 when I had my second child.
How do you see your career taking shape?
I have used my skills and experience throughout my career so far. Working in both customer service roles, and as a personal assistant for a number of years. Now I have started a new chapter in my career at Bayer I plan to once again, prove my value and excel as I lead a strong and capable team.
Would you recommend Apprenticeships to others?
Yes absolutely and I do! Initially, we in COM recruited Hannah as an Apprentice working towards an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration.
I arranged for her to spend time in various areas to get the most from her work experience and was responsible for her during the Apprenticeship, working as her mentor and first line manager.
Hannah gained her qualification 12 months later and secured herself a permanent position in Customer Service. With the support of Bayer and WBTC she is now working towards an NVQ in Customer Service to develop her skills further.