Alice Hickmott is the perfect advertisement for apprentices in estate agency - especially as we are now in National Apprentice Week.
Essex agency Beresfords, which celebrates half a century in business this year, took on Alice in 2012 as one of a number of apprentices in its annual intake.
Now the company and Alice, who’s 22, have revealed her rise from apprentice to troubleshooter.
She left school in Chelmsford in 2012 after realising that she wanted to work more than study for three A levels.
“An apprenticeship seemed like a really good idea for me, as I had very little work experience. I started off as an apprentice receptionist and canvasser and had lots of Excel spreadsheets to manage and direct mail to organise, alongside meeting and greeting all of the organisation’s visitors. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it.
“I was also given a mentor and placed on a training programme so that I could gain my Level 2 in Business Administration. My course was completed via distance learning, but Beresfords gave me time during the working day to complete my coursework and case studies on time.
“Beresfords has grown since I first joined and I’ve been given opportunities to develop my career as the organisation has progressed. Following the successful completion of my year-long apprenticeship, Beresfords took me on in their Resourcing & Facilities Department.
“As a team we’re responsible for Estate & Vehicle Fleet Management, Facilities, IT, HR, & Telecommunications for the entire company and we employ around 240 people, based in our Chelmsford headquarters and 16 regional estate agency branches and offices.
“Sometimes our daily routine can be thrown upside down, we’re on the end of the line when a branch reports they have no electricity or internet or a vehicle won’t start and it’s our responsibility to get everything back up and running as soon as possible. We have to ensure the smooth running of all Beresfords branches and head office all day every day, so that they can operate at its very best at all times: it’s definitely a challenge, and a big responsibility, but I love it.”
This clearly isn’t the end of the road for Alice’s progression with Berefords, as head of resourcing Sam O’Sullivan explains.
“We have high hopes for Alice to progress further within the organisation and we’re happy to support her with developmental and training needs to ensure she reaches her full potential” says Sam, who also served as Alice’s mentor.
“Alice is now so competent that she’s even helped us in the recruitment of new apprentices. She now knows what we’re looking for and she also knows the demands of the apprenticeship, so in many ways she is best placed to help choose the pick of the crop. It’s been wonderful to see her flourish over the last five years, and I’ve enjoyed sharing my skills and knowledge with her. It’s now really nice to see her pass on her skills and knowledge with our younger members of staff.”