Risharn Klair describes her journey from Cafcass apprentice to senior call handler
In National Apprenticeships Week, Risharn Klair describes her journey from Cafcass apprentice to senior call handler and mentor to new apprentices.
My journey at Cafcass has brought with it many opportunities to learn and develop new skills. I started at Cafcass in September 2019 as an apprentice, at the age of 21. I felt as though I had completed my studies backwards – as before the apprenticeship I had studied in early years and children’s development. I then went on to do a foundation degree in early years. Talking to people about what I was doing at this stage I felt embarrassed to say that I was doing an apprenticeship for the next two and a half years, rather than studying at university or having a full-time job.
During the first couple of months at Cafcass I realised I had no reason to feel this way, as I was gaining more knowledge and skills than I feel I would have done in a full-time role in any other workplace. I had the opportunity to work in each department within the National Business Centre (NBC). This really helped me to understand Cafcass and the detailed process that each application goes through and also the wide variety of different tasks that each team deals with daily.
Working within these departments gave me a real insight into the kind of role that I would prefer and had most interest in and for me that was the call centre. This is because every call is unique and there is always something to learn and new information to discover, which I found very interesting. I applied for the call handler role in October 2021 – while also finishing areas of my apprenticeship. Within a few weeks a role was advertised for a senior call handler secondment was advertised. I applied and since then I’ve been supporting other colleagues as a senior call handler.
Within my current role I have really been able to push myself out of my comfort zone. I’m helping others on calls, helping to train new starters and taking on any ad hoc tasks that come in daily. I am also a mentor to one of the new apprentices and can use my experience to support them through their journey.
This new role can be challenging. However, there are always new opportunities, learning curves and obstacles that help me to work harder and to further support others.
Each day is truly different in the call centre, you are always learning new information and speaking to different people. In addition to this, some days I could be taking calls and on others I will be training or working on inboxes. It’s always a nice feeling knowing that you can help support others and to watch people you have trained start to blossom and no longer need as much support to be able to work independently.
I would highly recommend an apprenticeship at Cafcass to anyone who is looking to work in this sector or wants to gain a business administration qualification.