How long ago did you apply for your apprenticeship?
I began my apprenticeship in March 2015 in the Payroll department at CIS Security.
What made you choose the apprenticeship route. Had you considered university?
I was exploring all options really, there is a bigger cost to going to university obviously, plus I’m a bit of a home bird so really wanted to do something that meant I didn’t have to spend a fortune living away from home. I applied for an apprenticeship at MiddletonMurray. It was great, I went in and talked to them about what kind of work I thought I’d enjoy and they helped me to identify my career goals and training needs. Then I interviewed at CIS and got a job as a Payroll Apprentice. It was daunting at first because I realized that I was a key part in the process where over 1,400 people get paid, but after a while I really embraced it and enjoyed having such an important purpose. I gained confidence in speaking to people on the phone and developed my own communication style which works for my role. It’s really important that people feel looked after in our business. You need them to get off the phone to you in a good mood as they have an important job to do.
What did you enjoy most about the process?
It was a pretty good feeling being able to tick off each assessment I had done and feeling like I was progressing. I love ticking things off my list and the process is really like that. You do the assessments in bitesize pieces so it never feels like you have a mountain to climb.
So what happened after you finished your year of apprenticeship?
I was delighted to be offered a full time role as Payroll Administrator. I was also offered the chance to work on a project to overhaul our staff portal software. I learned so much about IT and Operations doing this, collaborating with every department, and as a key member of the project team, I was recognized by our Managing Director for my contribution to the success of the project.
So tell us about your “The Rewards” award nomination.
My line Manager Evi, nominated me for the payroll awards, called The Rewards. She won it many moons ago (sorry Evi, you’re not that old). I was absolutely delighted to be named a finalist and didn’t expect to win, but I did! It was such a great feeling. It was funny because I was also nominated for Head Office Employee of the Year at the CIS Annual Awards which took place on the exact same night. It was lovely being nominated for both and I’m delighted for Erasmus (who won the Head Office Award) as I know he works so hard too and has been on the same apprentice journey as me.
So what next for Casey?
I am going to bask in the glory for a while – Just kidding. I’m still involved in the employee portal project as we continue to develop it on an ongoing basis. I’m always on the lookout for new challenges that allow me to learn new things. CIS is such an exciting place to work at the moment. We are coming up to our 50th Anniversary and the office had just been completely refurbished. There is a real sense that we are growing and CIS are always talking about succession planning, so I’m confident if I continue my good run that the opportunities will come to me.
There has been talk at CIS Security of the 4 C’s (Cause, Control, Community and Contemplation) which motivate staff towards even better productivity. Which one of those words do you think has most weight in terms of motivating you towards success as an individual?
All of them really because I can see how they are all important for people to feel happy at work, which in turn makes you productive. Cause speaks to me as we are all here to work towards a peaceful society, and my role in ensuring people get paid on time is a pretty worthy one. I love my work community too, it’s like a family at CIS and I’ve felt that a lot in my time here.
What would you say to an Apprentice starting their journey now?
I hope reading my story inspires them. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made and I’m really proud of myself for how far I’ve come in just 3 years to winning a nationally recognized award. The possibilities are endless but you’ve got to trust in your own abilities and face the challenges. Make mistakes along the way, learn from them and you will succeed.