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Kaplan apprentice wins National Apprenticeship Awards

Samuel Johnson wins North West Apprenticeship Award

Samuel Johnson is celebrating his victory after winning the Intermediate Apprentice of The Year award at the North West Apprenticeship Awards and the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

After joining United Utilities back in 2021, 19-year-old Apprentice Credit Controller Samuel Johnson has seen nothing but success and appreciation for all of his hard work. The North West Apprenticeship Awards found Sam’s organisation to be nominated for four awards in total, but his excitement rocketed after finding out that he had been nominated for, and then went on to win an individual award as Intermediate Apprentice of the Year.

After this excitement, Sam's success grew as he went on to win a Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

We caught up with Sam (prior to him winning the Babington Award) to hear about his experience as an apprentice with Kaplan.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

Before I started working, I was more interested in having a laugh with my friends than focusing on my work career and progression. I went to school, achieved all of my grades that were necessary, and then went to Sixth Form and studied BTEC Sport. I thought that this would be a lot less stressful than A-Levels and would still give me the time to spend with friends.

But then from May to June 2021, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I didn’t want to go to university. Since high school, I’ve always been interested in profit and turnover, and building relationships with people. That’s one thing that I’m good at, I can engage with people easily and have a laugh.

So, this apprenticeship was great for me because I didn’t want to just be working on spreadsheets all day. I wanted to work and learn at the same time and still communicate with people every day. If I went to university, I wouldn’t really be able to earn at the same time. There’s not much adventuring in terms of studying and work, you’re very set on what you can do. I feel like I can now earn and learn, and I can still do all of the stuff that I want to do in my life while exploring all of my options.

How did you feel when you found out that you won the award?

To be shortlisted for the award was enough for me. I didn’t think I’d get any further than that, it was a massive achievement. In school, I was never doubted but I never had the drive to work harder and succeed. If I got a passing grade then I’d be fine with that, but I didn’t need to go any further.

People have always said to me that I’ve got the potential but I’ve never taken it further. So now, to be able to achieve something like this, I feel like I’ve shown my potential.

When I got to the awards, it was a final with two people and then my name got read out. I was quite overwhelmed and shocked, and just had a massive smile on my face.

Were your colleagues with you to celebrate?

Yeah, so it was an awards show for apprenticeships and I was up for an individual award but our company was also nominated for three more awards. We came runner up in two of them and then won one, and then obviously I won mine too. There were people from HR there and Income managers, and I had my mum with me too.

How Kaplan supported your learning?

I think Kaplan has supported me a lot because there’s an outside view looking in on what you’re doing day to day. So, for example, the regular catch-ups from tutors are great because someone in my company might be very set on a specific process, whereas the outside perspective will look at things differently. It helps to hear their analysis of things and how there are other ways that I can address challenges, so it gives me more knowledge.

The tutors also helped to prepare me for my End Point Assessment. The support and knowledge from them helped me pass the apprenticeship and allowed me to succeed. There’s always the drive to make me achieve, and two eyes are better than one, so it’s great to know that they will always give me ways to help me improve.

I’m also prepared to manage my time better. I used to be one of those people that would leave things until the last minute. But Kaplan has made me realise the importance of managing my time and working towards specific dates.

“Stick with it. Tough times don’t last but tough people do”

How have you found balancing your time between working at United Utilities and studying?

At first, I found it quite challenging, mainly because I was a last-minute type of person, and it got to a point where I was quite behind on my own work and that’s when I realised that I needed to change as leaving things until they were due was just not working. I needed to adapt, so I started to put things in place like managing my calendar and planning my studies by the hour so that I could progress.

Now, I’ll set aside an hour, for example, to study, and then I can go to work and focus on that throughout the day. I’ve got things in place now so that I can manage my time and be efficient.

Have you found that the apprenticeship has helped you in your job role?

Yes, especially with one of the modules that I did focused on customer service which gives you a much more in-depth view of how you can approach different customers. I can identify how I need to approach different customers and how to build relationships with them. If the customer has faith in you, then they’ll trust that you can action what needs to be actioned.

We focus so much on customer service in my role, and for me, that’s probably the most important part of my job. I’ve received wonderful feedback from customers that are happy with how I’ve dealt with a situation and did everything I could do to help. That’s something that we do value a lot at United Utilities.

What are your plans for the future?

I have the National Apprentice of the Year Awards at the end of November. I’ve made it to the final of that which is great news. I’ve also been shortlisted for the Chartered Institute of Credit Management Rising Star awards in February 2023, so I’m looking forward to both of them. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

But, in terms of the future, I don’t want to plan anything else. I’d love to continue studying and getting more qualifications, but I have nothing set in stone. I want to keep working hard day to day and see where it takes me.

* Update: Since we spoke with Sam, we have heard that he has gone on to win the Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

Do you have any advice for future apprentices?

What I’d say is just stick with it. Obviously, it’s a simple saying but tough times don’t last but tough people do. If you ever feel like you’re struggling and you can’t do it, just stick with it. Ask for support, because there’s so much support there that I’ve found both at Kaplan and at work. When you do feel like you can’t do something, remember that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, as well as so many opportunities once you get over the obstacles.

At first, I didn’t think that I’d be able to speak to customers over the phone as well as I can now, but I’ve learnt so many different techniques over the past 15 months. There are so many benefits towards doing an apprenticeship, and once you have one qualification you can get more. Definitely stick with it.

We send our good luck wishes to Sam while he continues to advance his career and for the awards that he has been nominated for.

Find out more about our apprenticeship opportunities.

Earn while you learn with an apprenticeship

Choose a programme

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Kaplan apprentice wins National Apprenticeship Awards

Samuel Johnson wins North West Apprenticeship Award

Samuel Johnson is celebrating his victory after winning the Intermediate Apprentice of The Year award at the North West Apprenticeship Awards and the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

After joining United Utilities back in 2021, 19-year-old Apprentice Credit Controller Samuel Johnson has seen nothing but success and appreciation for all of his hard work. The North West Apprenticeship Awards found Sam’s organisation to be nominated for four awards in total, but his excitement rocketed after finding out that he had been nominated for, and then went on to win an individual award as Intermediate Apprentice of the Year.

After this excitement, Sam's success grew as he went on to win a Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

We caught up with Sam (prior to him winning the Babington Award) to hear about his experience as an apprentice with Kaplan.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

Before I started working, I was more interested in having a laugh with my friends than focusing on my work career and progression. I went to school, achieved all of my grades that were necessary, and then went to Sixth Form and studied BTEC Sport. I thought that this would be a lot less stressful than A-Levels and would still give me the time to spend with friends.

But then from May to June 2021, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I didn’t want to go to university. Since high school, I’ve always been interested in profit and turnover, and building relationships with people. That’s one thing that I’m good at, I can engage with people easily and have a laugh.

So, this apprenticeship was great for me because I didn’t want to just be working on spreadsheets all day. I wanted to work and learn at the same time and still communicate with people every day. If I went to university, I wouldn’t really be able to earn at the same time. There’s not much adventuring in terms of studying and work, you’re very set on what you can do. I feel like I can now earn and learn, and I can still do all of the stuff that I want to do in my life while exploring all of my options.

How did you feel when you found out that you won the award?

To be shortlisted for the award was enough for me. I didn’t think I’d get any further than that, it was a massive achievement. In school, I was never doubted but I never had the drive to work harder and succeed. If I got a passing grade then I’d be fine with that, but I didn’t need to go any further.

People have always said to me that I’ve got the potential but I’ve never taken it further. So now, to be able to achieve something like this, I feel like I’ve shown my potential.

When I got to the awards, it was a final with two people and then my name got read out. I was quite overwhelmed and shocked, and just had a massive smile on my face.

Were your colleagues with you to celebrate?

Yeah, so it was an awards show for apprenticeships and I was up for an individual award but our company was also nominated for three more awards. We came runner up in two of them and then won one, and then obviously I won mine too. There were people from HR there and Income managers, and I had my mum with me too.

How Kaplan supported your learning?

I think Kaplan has supported me a lot because there’s an outside view looking in on what you’re doing day to day. So, for example, the regular catch-ups from tutors are great because someone in my company might be very set on a specific process, whereas the outside perspective will look at things differently. It helps to hear their analysis of things and how there are other ways that I can address challenges, so it gives me more knowledge.

The tutors also helped to prepare me for my End Point Assessment. The support and knowledge from them helped me pass the apprenticeship and allowed me to succeed. There’s always the drive to make me achieve, and two eyes are better than one, so it’s great to know that they will always give me ways to help me improve.

I’m also prepared to manage my time better. I used to be one of those people that would leave things until the last minute. But Kaplan has made me realise the importance of managing my time and working towards specific dates.

“Stick with it. Tough times don’t last but tough people do”

How have you found balancing your time between working at United Utilities and studying?

At first, I found it quite challenging, mainly because I was a last-minute type of person, and it got to a point where I was quite behind on my own work and that’s when I realised that I needed to change as leaving things until they were due was just not working. I needed to adapt, so I started to put things in place like managing my calendar and planning my studies by the hour so that I could progress.

Now, I’ll set aside an hour, for example, to study, and then I can go to work and focus on that throughout the day. I’ve got things in place now so that I can manage my time and be efficient.

Have you found that the apprenticeship has helped you in your job role?

Yes, especially with one of the modules that I did focused on customer service which gives you a much more in-depth view of how you can approach different customers. I can identify how I need to approach different customers and how to build relationships with them. If the customer has faith in you, then they’ll trust that you can action what needs to be actioned.

We focus so much on customer service in my role, and for me, that’s probably the most important part of my job. I’ve received wonderful feedback from customers that are happy with how I’ve dealt with a situation and did everything I could do to help. That’s something that we do value a lot at United Utilities.

What are your plans for the future?

I have the National Apprentice of the Year Awards at the end of November. I’ve made it to the final of that which is great news. I’ve also been shortlisted for the Chartered Institute of Credit Management Rising Star awards in February 2023, so I’m looking forward to both of them. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

But, in terms of the future, I don’t want to plan anything else. I’d love to continue studying and getting more qualifications, but I have nothing set in stone. I want to keep working hard day to day and see where it takes me.

* Update: Since we spoke with Sam, we have heard that he has gone on to win the Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

Do you have any advice for future apprentices?

What I’d say is just stick with it. Obviously, it’s a simple saying but tough times don’t last but tough people do. If you ever feel like you’re struggling and you can’t do it, just stick with it. Ask for support, because there’s so much support there that I’ve found both at Kaplan and at work. When you do feel like you can’t do something, remember that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, as well as so many opportunities once you get over the obstacles.

At first, I didn’t think that I’d be able to speak to customers over the phone as well as I can now, but I’ve learnt so many different techniques over the past 15 months. There are so many benefits towards doing an apprenticeship, and once you have one qualification you can get more. Definitely stick with it.

We send our good luck wishes to Sam while he continues to advance his career and for the awards that he has been nominated for.

Find out more about our apprenticeship opportunities.

Earn while you learn with an apprenticeship

Choose a programme

Related articles

From IT analyst to BCS finalist: Apprentice, Chloe Auger

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Kaplan apprentice wins National Apprenticeship Awards

Samuel Johnson wins North West Apprenticeship Award

Samuel Johnson is celebrating his victory after winning the Intermediate Apprentice of The Year award at the North West Apprenticeship Awards and the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

After joining United Utilities back in 2021, 19-year-old Apprentice Credit Controller Samuel Johnson has seen nothing but success and appreciation for all of his hard work. The North West Apprenticeship Awards found Sam’s organisation to be nominated for four awards in total, but his excitement rocketed after finding out that he had been nominated for, and then went on to win an individual award as Intermediate Apprentice of the Year.

After this excitement, Sam's success grew as he went on to win a Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

We caught up with Sam (prior to him winning the Babington Award) to hear about his experience as an apprentice with Kaplan.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

Before I started working, I was more interested in having a laugh with my friends than focusing on my work career and progression. I went to school, achieved all of my grades that were necessary, and then went to Sixth Form and studied BTEC Sport. I thought that this would be a lot less stressful than A-Levels and would still give me the time to spend with friends.

But then from May to June 2021, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I didn’t want to go to university. Since high school, I’ve always been interested in profit and turnover, and building relationships with people. That’s one thing that I’m good at, I can engage with people easily and have a laugh.

So, this apprenticeship was great for me because I didn’t want to just be working on spreadsheets all day. I wanted to work and learn at the same time and still communicate with people every day. If I went to university, I wouldn’t really be able to earn at the same time. There’s not much adventuring in terms of studying and work, you’re very set on what you can do. I feel like I can now earn and learn, and I can still do all of the stuff that I want to do in my life while exploring all of my options.

How did you feel when you found out that you won the award?

To be shortlisted for the award was enough for me. I didn’t think I’d get any further than that, it was a massive achievement. In school, I was never doubted but I never had the drive to work harder and succeed. If I got a passing grade then I’d be fine with that, but I didn’t need to go any further.

People have always said to me that I’ve got the potential but I’ve never taken it further. So now, to be able to achieve something like this, I feel like I’ve shown my potential.

When I got to the awards, it was a final with two people and then my name got read out. I was quite overwhelmed and shocked, and just had a massive smile on my face.

Were your colleagues with you to celebrate?

Yeah, so it was an awards show for apprenticeships and I was up for an individual award but our company was also nominated for three more awards. We came runner up in two of them and then won one, and then obviously I won mine too. There were people from HR there and Income managers, and I had my mum with me too.

How Kaplan supported your learning?

I think Kaplan has supported me a lot because there’s an outside view looking in on what you’re doing day to day. So, for example, the regular catch-ups from tutors are great because someone in my company might be very set on a specific process, whereas the outside perspective will look at things differently. It helps to hear their analysis of things and how there are other ways that I can address challenges, so it gives me more knowledge.

The tutors also helped to prepare me for my End Point Assessment. The support and knowledge from them helped me pass the apprenticeship and allowed me to succeed. There’s always the drive to make me achieve, and two eyes are better than one, so it’s great to know that they will always give me ways to help me improve.

I’m also prepared to manage my time better. I used to be one of those people that would leave things until the last minute. But Kaplan has made me realise the importance of managing my time and working towards specific dates.

“Stick with it. Tough times don’t last but tough people do”

How have you found balancing your time between working at United Utilities and studying?

At first, I found it quite challenging, mainly because I was a last-minute type of person, and it got to a point where I was quite behind on my own work and that’s when I realised that I needed to change as leaving things until they were due was just not working. I needed to adapt, so I started to put things in place like managing my calendar and planning my studies by the hour so that I could progress.

Now, I’ll set aside an hour, for example, to study, and then I can go to work and focus on that throughout the day. I’ve got things in place now so that I can manage my time and be efficient.

Have you found that the apprenticeship has helped you in your job role?

Yes, especially with one of the modules that I did focused on customer service which gives you a much more in-depth view of how you can approach different customers. I can identify how I need to approach different customers and how to build relationships with them. If the customer has faith in you, then they’ll trust that you can action what needs to be actioned.

We focus so much on customer service in my role, and for me, that’s probably the most important part of my job. I’ve received wonderful feedback from customers that are happy with how I’ve dealt with a situation and did everything I could do to help. That’s something that we do value a lot at United Utilities.

What are your plans for the future?

I have the National Apprentice of the Year Awards at the end of November. I’ve made it to the final of that which is great news. I’ve also been shortlisted for the Chartered Institute of Credit Management Rising Star awards in February 2023, so I’m looking forward to both of them. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

But, in terms of the future, I don’t want to plan anything else. I’d love to continue studying and getting more qualifications, but I have nothing set in stone. I want to keep working hard day to day and see where it takes me.

* Update: Since we spoke with Sam, we have heard that he has gone on to win the Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

Do you have any advice for future apprentices?

What I’d say is just stick with it. Obviously, it’s a simple saying but tough times don’t last but tough people do. If you ever feel like you’re struggling and you can’t do it, just stick with it. Ask for support, because there’s so much support there that I’ve found both at Kaplan and at work. When you do feel like you can’t do something, remember that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, as well as so many opportunities once you get over the obstacles.

At first, I didn’t think that I’d be able to speak to customers over the phone as well as I can now, but I’ve learnt so many different techniques over the past 15 months. There are so many benefits towards doing an apprenticeship, and once you have one qualification you can get more. Definitely stick with it.

We send our good luck wishes to Sam while he continues to advance his career and for the awards that he has been nominated for.

Find out more about our apprenticeship opportunities.

Earn while you learn with an apprenticeship

Choose a programme

Related articles

From IT analyst to BCS finalist: Apprentice, Chloe Auger

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Chloe Auger is the first apprentice that C.I.KNOW has hired, and she was recently a finalist for the BCS IT awards while training at Kaplan.

Kaplan · 7 minute read

“Create your own destiny" - volunteering helps you progress

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In the top 10: Ben Springall provides his advice

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Transformations

View all

Kaplan apprentice wins National Apprenticeship Awards

Samuel Johnson wins North West Apprenticeship Award

Samuel Johnson is celebrating his victory after winning the Intermediate Apprentice of The Year award at the North West Apprenticeship Awards and the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

After joining United Utilities back in 2021, 19-year-old Apprentice Credit Controller Samuel Johnson has seen nothing but success and appreciation for all of his hard work. The North West Apprenticeship Awards found Sam’s organisation to be nominated for four awards in total, but his excitement rocketed after finding out that he had been nominated for, and then went on to win an individual award as Intermediate Apprentice of the Year.

After this excitement, Sam's success grew as he went on to win a Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

We caught up with Sam (prior to him winning the Babington Award) to hear about his experience as an apprentice with Kaplan.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

Before I started working, I was more interested in having a laugh with my friends than focusing on my work career and progression. I went to school, achieved all of my grades that were necessary, and then went to Sixth Form and studied BTEC Sport. I thought that this would be a lot less stressful than A-Levels and would still give me the time to spend with friends.

But then from May to June 2021, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I didn’t want to go to university. Since high school, I’ve always been interested in profit and turnover, and building relationships with people. That’s one thing that I’m good at, I can engage with people easily and have a laugh.

So, this apprenticeship was great for me because I didn’t want to just be working on spreadsheets all day. I wanted to work and learn at the same time and still communicate with people every day. If I went to university, I wouldn’t really be able to earn at the same time. There’s not much adventuring in terms of studying and work, you’re very set on what you can do. I feel like I can now earn and learn, and I can still do all of the stuff that I want to do in my life while exploring all of my options.

How did you feel when you found out that you won the award?

To be shortlisted for the award was enough for me. I didn’t think I’d get any further than that, it was a massive achievement. In school, I was never doubted but I never had the drive to work harder and succeed. If I got a passing grade then I’d be fine with that, but I didn’t need to go any further.

People have always said to me that I’ve got the potential but I’ve never taken it further. So now, to be able to achieve something like this, I feel like I’ve shown my potential.

When I got to the awards, it was a final with two people and then my name got read out. I was quite overwhelmed and shocked, and just had a massive smile on my face.

Were your colleagues with you to celebrate?

Yeah, so it was an awards show for apprenticeships and I was up for an individual award but our company was also nominated for three more awards. We came runner up in two of them and then won one, and then obviously I won mine too. There were people from HR there and Income managers, and I had my mum with me too.

How Kaplan supported your learning?

I think Kaplan has supported me a lot because there’s an outside view looking in on what you’re doing day to day. So, for example, the regular catch-ups from tutors are great because someone in my company might be very set on a specific process, whereas the outside perspective will look at things differently. It helps to hear their analysis of things and how there are other ways that I can address challenges, so it gives me more knowledge.

The tutors also helped to prepare me for my End Point Assessment. The support and knowledge from them helped me pass the apprenticeship and allowed me to succeed. There’s always the drive to make me achieve, and two eyes are better than one, so it’s great to know that they will always give me ways to help me improve.

I’m also prepared to manage my time better. I used to be one of those people that would leave things until the last minute. But Kaplan has made me realise the importance of managing my time and working towards specific dates.

“Stick with it. Tough times don’t last but tough people do”

How have you found balancing your time between working at United Utilities and studying?

At first, I found it quite challenging, mainly because I was a last-minute type of person, and it got to a point where I was quite behind on my own work and that’s when I realised that I needed to change as leaving things until they were due was just not working. I needed to adapt, so I started to put things in place like managing my calendar and planning my studies by the hour so that I could progress.

Now, I’ll set aside an hour, for example, to study, and then I can go to work and focus on that throughout the day. I’ve got things in place now so that I can manage my time and be efficient.

Have you found that the apprenticeship has helped you in your job role?

Yes, especially with one of the modules that I did focused on customer service which gives you a much more in-depth view of how you can approach different customers. I can identify how I need to approach different customers and how to build relationships with them. If the customer has faith in you, then they’ll trust that you can action what needs to be actioned.

We focus so much on customer service in my role, and for me, that’s probably the most important part of my job. I’ve received wonderful feedback from customers that are happy with how I’ve dealt with a situation and did everything I could do to help. That’s something that we do value a lot at United Utilities.

What are your plans for the future?

I have the National Apprentice of the Year Awards at the end of November. I’ve made it to the final of that which is great news. I’ve also been shortlisted for the Chartered Institute of Credit Management Rising Star awards in February 2023, so I’m looking forward to both of them. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

But, in terms of the future, I don’t want to plan anything else. I’d love to continue studying and getting more qualifications, but I have nothing set in stone. I want to keep working hard day to day and see where it takes me.

* Update: Since we spoke with Sam, we have heard that he has gone on to win the Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

Do you have any advice for future apprentices?

What I’d say is just stick with it. Obviously, it’s a simple saying but tough times don’t last but tough people do. If you ever feel like you’re struggling and you can’t do it, just stick with it. Ask for support, because there’s so much support there that I’ve found both at Kaplan and at work. When you do feel like you can’t do something, remember that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, as well as so many opportunities once you get over the obstacles.

At first, I didn’t think that I’d be able to speak to customers over the phone as well as I can now, but I’ve learnt so many different techniques over the past 15 months. There are so many benefits towards doing an apprenticeship, and once you have one qualification you can get more. Definitely stick with it.

We send our good luck wishes to Sam while he continues to advance his career and for the awards that he has been nominated for.

Find out more about our apprenticeship opportunities.

Earn while you learn with an apprenticeship

Choose a programme

Related articles

From IT analyst to BCS finalist: Apprentice, Chloe Auger

From IT analyst to BCS finalist: Apprentice, Chloe Auger

Chloe Auger is the first apprentice that C.I.KNOW has hired, and she was recently a finalist for the BCS IT awards while training at Kaplan.

Kaplan · 7 minute read

“Create your own destiny" - volunteering helps you progress

“Create your own destiny" - volunteering helps you progress

We caught up with Rory Murphy, Level 7 Accounting and Taxation Professional apprentice at The Bannatyne Group.

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In the top 10: Ben Springall provides his advice

In the top 10: Ben Springall provides his advice

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Kaplan apprentice wins National Apprenticeship Awards

Samuel Johnson wins North West Apprenticeship Award

Samuel Johnson is celebrating his victory after winning the Intermediate Apprentice of The Year award at the North West Apprenticeship Awards and the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

After joining United Utilities back in 2021, 19-year-old Apprentice Credit Controller Samuel Johnson has seen nothing but success and appreciation for all of his hard work. The North West Apprenticeship Awards found Sam’s organisation to be nominated for four awards in total, but his excitement rocketed after finding out that he had been nominated for, and then went on to win an individual award as Intermediate Apprentice of the Year.

After this excitement, Sam's success grew as he went on to win a Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

We caught up with Sam (prior to him winning the Babington Award) to hear about his experience as an apprentice with Kaplan.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

Before I started working, I was more interested in having a laugh with my friends than focusing on my work career and progression. I went to school, achieved all of my grades that were necessary, and then went to Sixth Form and studied BTEC Sport. I thought that this would be a lot less stressful than A-Levels and would still give me the time to spend with friends.

But then from May to June 2021, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I didn’t want to go to university. Since high school, I’ve always been interested in profit and turnover, and building relationships with people. That’s one thing that I’m good at, I can engage with people easily and have a laugh.

So, this apprenticeship was great for me because I didn’t want to just be working on spreadsheets all day. I wanted to work and learn at the same time and still communicate with people every day. If I went to university, I wouldn’t really be able to earn at the same time. There’s not much adventuring in terms of studying and work, you’re very set on what you can do. I feel like I can now earn and learn, and I can still do all of the stuff that I want to do in my life while exploring all of my options.

How did you feel when you found out that you won the award?

To be shortlisted for the award was enough for me. I didn’t think I’d get any further than that, it was a massive achievement. In school, I was never doubted but I never had the drive to work harder and succeed. If I got a passing grade then I’d be fine with that, but I didn’t need to go any further.

People have always said to me that I’ve got the potential but I’ve never taken it further. So now, to be able to achieve something like this, I feel like I’ve shown my potential.

When I got to the awards, it was a final with two people and then my name got read out. I was quite overwhelmed and shocked, and just had a massive smile on my face.

Were your colleagues with you to celebrate?

Yeah, so it was an awards show for apprenticeships and I was up for an individual award but our company was also nominated for three more awards. We came runner up in two of them and then won one, and then obviously I won mine too. There were people from HR there and Income managers, and I had my mum with me too.

How Kaplan supported your learning?

I think Kaplan has supported me a lot because there’s an outside view looking in on what you’re doing day to day. So, for example, the regular catch-ups from tutors are great because someone in my company might be very set on a specific process, whereas the outside perspective will look at things differently. It helps to hear their analysis of things and how there are other ways that I can address challenges, so it gives me more knowledge.

The tutors also helped to prepare me for my End Point Assessment. The support and knowledge from them helped me pass the apprenticeship and allowed me to succeed. There’s always the drive to make me achieve, and two eyes are better than one, so it’s great to know that they will always give me ways to help me improve.

I’m also prepared to manage my time better. I used to be one of those people that would leave things until the last minute. But Kaplan has made me realise the importance of managing my time and working towards specific dates.

“Stick with it. Tough times don’t last but tough people do”

How have you found balancing your time between working at United Utilities and studying?

At first, I found it quite challenging, mainly because I was a last-minute type of person, and it got to a point where I was quite behind on my own work and that’s when I realised that I needed to change as leaving things until they were due was just not working. I needed to adapt, so I started to put things in place like managing my calendar and planning my studies by the hour so that I could progress.

Now, I’ll set aside an hour, for example, to study, and then I can go to work and focus on that throughout the day. I’ve got things in place now so that I can manage my time and be efficient.

Have you found that the apprenticeship has helped you in your job role?

Yes, especially with one of the modules that I did focused on customer service which gives you a much more in-depth view of how you can approach different customers. I can identify how I need to approach different customers and how to build relationships with them. If the customer has faith in you, then they’ll trust that you can action what needs to be actioned.

We focus so much on customer service in my role, and for me, that’s probably the most important part of my job. I’ve received wonderful feedback from customers that are happy with how I’ve dealt with a situation and did everything I could do to help. That’s something that we do value a lot at United Utilities.

What are your plans for the future?

I have the National Apprentice of the Year Awards at the end of November. I’ve made it to the final of that which is great news. I’ve also been shortlisted for the Chartered Institute of Credit Management Rising Star awards in February 2023, so I’m looking forward to both of them. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

But, in terms of the future, I don’t want to plan anything else. I’d love to continue studying and getting more qualifications, but I have nothing set in stone. I want to keep working hard day to day and see where it takes me.

* Update: Since we spoke with Sam, we have heard that he has gone on to win the Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship of the Year Awards 2022.

Do you have any advice for future apprentices?

What I’d say is just stick with it. Obviously, it’s a simple saying but tough times don’t last but tough people do. If you ever feel like you’re struggling and you can’t do it, just stick with it. Ask for support, because there’s so much support there that I’ve found both at Kaplan and at work. When you do feel like you can’t do something, remember that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, as well as so many opportunities once you get over the obstacles.

At first, I didn’t think that I’d be able to speak to customers over the phone as well as I can now, but I’ve learnt so many different techniques over the past 15 months. There are so many benefits towards doing an apprenticeship, and once you have one qualification you can get more. Definitely stick with it.

We send our good luck wishes to Sam while he continues to advance his career and for the awards that he has been nominated for.

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