Eleanor joined Aptus Utilities in 2014 and was placed within our head office administration team where she could complete her training towards an NVQ Level 2 Business Administration apprenticeship.
Recruiting apprentices into an administration role gives them a thorough overview of the company’s work as a multi utility provider and the sector-specific administrative processes involved. It also allows them to get an insight into the career paths available within the company. After completing her apprenticeship Eleanor chose to specialise in Estimation. She shares her story here.
I was responsible for supporting the tendering team by setting up new enquiries from customers. This involved applying for the existing utility mains records by filling out application request forms and sending them to network operators such as Electricity North West or United Utilities. I also worked closely with the design department and helped the estimating team to produce quotations for clients.
I was required to contact customers by telephone and email on a daily basis, as well as work on spreadsheets to populate data, and liaise with work colleagues to distribute workloads. This enabled me to fulfil the requirements of my apprenticeship, and also helped me to develop good working relationships with everybody involved internally and externally at Aptus.
Before I joined the company I didn’t know much about the utilities industry and was surprised by the variety of job roles and tasks that are required for the business to succeed. My apprenticeship gave me a good insight into the role of an estimator, I felt it was a good fit for me and was encouraged to progress within the estimation team.
The transition to Trainee Estimator helped me to further understand how my original administrative position supported other departments within the organisation, and how everyone’s roles contribute to the overall success of the business.
I spent 12 months working as a trainee and a further three years employed as an estimator, gaining more experience in Excel and working with different formulas. I had to discuss quotes with customers and run through designs, so I quickly had to get more technical and become more confident in my abilities.
When the position of Lead Estimator became available I felt confident enough to apply and successfully gained promotion. The role has much more responsibility, but I enjoy it because I have an excellent team to work with!
As well as overseeing the day-to-day running of the estimating department I’m responsible for peer-checking all quotes before they are sent, amending costs and payment terms to make them more favourable to our clients, monitoring schemes coming over to the department ready to quote, and producing reports from our online data system to ensure everything is up-to-date and compiled correctly.
The company has a reputation for excellent customer service and I’m relied upon to maintain strong relationships with an ever-growing client list. I also take a lead on guiding and mentoring trainee estimators within the team. Having come through the same route I know how to help them with any obstacles or challenges they might face while making the transition.
Starting my career through the apprenticeship route has allowed me to gain valuable experience and insight into a wide range of fields whilst getting a qualification. Since joining Aptus Utilities I’ve definitely become more confident and feel there is room to progress further within the business. I would encourage any young person interested in business administration to consider this industry and think about doing their apprenticeship with Aptus Utilities.