Katie Harrison, Fleet Administrator Apprentice, Head Office, Stockton-on-Tees
National Apprenticeship Week 2021
For our last post celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2021, I’m going to introduce you to Katie Harrison.
Katie is a Fleet Administrator for Pickerings Lifts, working with the Lift installations and maintenance engineers, regional offices and sales staff, to ensure they have the best and most appropriate vans and fleet cars for their jobs.
After just five minutes talking to Katie, you realise her role is deceptive… as with any job in the lift industry, the simple job title doesn’t cover a tenth of what is involved! And, as with Luke in our previous post, she’s one of the people who keeps Pickerings Lifts going… in her case, literally.
How long have you been an apprentice Katie? And what qualification are you working toward?
“A year and eleven months, and I’m doing an NVQ Level 3 in Business Administration.”
Okay. So tell me, what is a typical working day like for you?
“A typical day for me never gets boring. I never know what will be round the corner. It could be a relaxed day of invoicing and dealing with paperwork, or it could be a day where I’m never off the phone, dealing with vehicle accidents and breakdowns.
I enjoy each day in my role because I learn new things all the time, and get to speak to a large majority of the business.”
What is the most interesting thing you have worked on/memorable experience at Pickerings Lifts?
“My most memorable experience would have to be returning from maternity Leave, as I came back when a lot of people where still furloughed and not everyone was back.
When I arrived back in the office, it was as though nothing had changed. Everyone was still smiling and chatting away. It felt like I had never left. That’s what really made me feel like Pickerings Lifts is a family. I had only worked at the company for just under a year before I left for maternity and everyone remembered me and congratulated me. I’ll always feel lucky to work in such a positive workplace with people I really get on with.”
What has changed about your role since the Covid-19 crisis?
“I’m now doing a lot of working from home where possible.
This has made my job role more difficult and I do miss seeing the other employees that work in my office however, it’s nice to be able to feel comfortable and relaxed when working from home.
I do feel as though my job role has become more difficult. The time the vans can be off the road during the pandemic has increased due to a lack of parts coming into the country, considering a lot of parts for our vans come from Germany and France, so this has been a problem for us of late.
Another problem I’ve come across has been getting hire vans. Because the number of people allowed to be in the same vehicle when at work has changed, the availability of vans has changed. This means when I go to book a hire, it can take a lot longer than normal and I have to do a lot more than i normally would to be able to find and organise it.”
How are you finding your studies and work during the pandemic?
“I admit it! I do find it more difficult attending college from home. There can be problems when using teams etc. and it can be challenging to stay motivated when working from home and concentrate when there are so many distractions. However, I feel that I am more relaxed and comfortable, so get a lot of my work completed faster than I would normally.”
What do you enjoy doing when not working?
“I enjoy going on walks with my partner, our little girl, and our dog. We go on one big walk at least once a week. Plus, I really love to see my family when I can – I know it’s difficult at the moment, though. I also enjoy cooking, and going to see new places.”
Investing in young people
We view apprenticeships as an investment in young people that will reap dividends for Pickerings Lifts far into the future. By providing apprentices with the skills and knowledge necessary to work within the lift industry, we are equipping them with a vocation that will help them throughout their lives. At the same time, we’re helping to secure a stable, reliable, and highly educated workforce, trained in the Pickerings Lifts methods and values.
Pickerings Lifts currently has 11 apprentices working for us, and as you might expect with a national company, they’re spread out across the whole of the UK.
Equally, because we install, maintain and repair all types of lifts, and all these activities have to be managed and co-ordinated, our apprentices have a wide range of job descriptions too. Just a few of the apprenticeships we offer include administrators for human resources, business operations and our fleet department. We also have lift engineering apprenticeships in our business streams, lift maintenance and repair, loading systems and escalators.
The Institute for Apprentices and Technical Education apprenticeship training
Pickerings Lifts helped create the new apprenticeship standard that is revolutionising the future training of lift and escalator engineers.
The ‘Level 3 Lift and Escalator Electromechanic Apprenticeship Standard’ was approved for delivery last year, and was the result of a trailblazer group which included Pickerings Lifts, the Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA) and several other companies in the lift and escalator industry.
Rachel Swales, HR and Training Officer at Pickerings Lifts, attended the trailblazer group on behalf of the company, and commented…
“This new standard ensures thorough, high quality apprenticeship training. It results in well-trained engineers with solid foundations set for a successful career in the lift industry.”