As someone who didn’t really enjoy school, Gemma Strain may seem an unlikely advocate for education, but she attributes her career progression to the workplace learning she has undertaken since joining business process outsourcer Sitel.
At 24, Gemma has completed not one, but two apprenticeships with Intec Business Colleges, in both Customer Service and Sales and she has just completed a CMI Level 3 Apprenticeship in Management and Leadership.
Working in a call centre, she manages 12 advisers who look after Ireland-based customers for Virgin Media.
The main thing I’ve learnt through doing my diploma is confidence; I now have faith that what I am doing is correct. Confidence is so important and has a knock on effect in so many aspects of my job, not least my role in motivating the team. Without doing the diploma, I certainly wouldn’t be as confident, it’s given me the kick up the butt I needed!
I’ve never been good with words, English was my downfall, but the fact that I’ve had to write essays has really improved my writing. I’ve also been able to practice public speaking in a safe environment which has given me a real boost when I’m pitching to clients or even talking to the team— I’m the manager of the campaign after all! I’d encourage more people to sign up for this course as it’s been so useful in my development.
Gemma is looking to her next career move, maybe as operations manager or looking after clients directly, as an account director. But in the meantime, she has won several awards from Virgin Media for her work and is now inspiring others at Sitel to follow in her footsteps as she is a company Ambassador for training.