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Lauren Harwood - Customer Experience Officer

Name: Lauren Harwood

Year Started (Graduate Scheme): 2019

Current Position: Graduate Officer – Customer Experience

Studied: Business Information Systems at Cardiff Metropolitan University

Why did you apply for the scheme?

The reason the scheme appealed to me with RCT Council was due to the large amount of employment opportunities which they offered. There was a diverse availability across a range of differing services to which the transferrable skills I gained from University and my Internship were suitable to not just the position I gained but to multiple of opportunities offered. Additionally, having the opportunity to gain industry recognised qualifications played a strong part in me applying as this job didn’t just offer a two year fixed paid position it allowed for investment in myself and providing me with skills to further develop as a recent graduate.

The reason that my current job role in Customer Care stood out to me was because I developed an interest in IT during my academic studies throughout sixth form which I pursued as a study choice within University. I was particularly interested in how it can help towards adapting and improving the way organisations are working towards helping their customers to become digitally competent. I wanted to be at the forefront of this digital transformation and I believed my year in industry with South Wales Police equipped me with the skills and necessary knowledge needed to help towards the council’s digital vision.

Highlights: I started my graduate scheme in September 2019 and since then I have been involved in a range of different work streams, this largely involves improving business processes, researching, implementing and delivering Council wide transformation services that form part of the Council’s Digital Strategy and the opportunity to provide face to face support to our customers/residents in the Bus pass changeover and flooding assistance. These areas I’ve been involved in have had a positive impact for the residents utilising our services.

Throughout the graduate scheme I have been fortunate enough to have experienced self-development opportunities within my work and personal life. I’ve been enrolled onto a level 4 qualification in Project Management which I’m continuing with great progression so far, working alongside the other graduates which is allowing me to improve my communication and interpersonal skills. The job has also opened doors in my personal life, the generous salary has allowed me to make a huge milestone in my life and I’ve been able to purchase my own home in the first 7 months of employment.

Recommendations to Applicants:

From experience I have learnt that despite not specifically having experience in a particular service area, don’t hold back in applying for a combination of posts. I applied for 2 posts and found being able to demonstrate appropriate examples of competencies from your academic studies, internship, work experience or even personal life hobbies can easily meet the criteria. Don’t be alarmed if you feel you haven’t had the adequate experience of working in an “office environment” as long as you can demonstrate your attributes and characteristics through past experiences this will contribute towards your successfulness.

The current job position I secured, I found scanning through the job vacancy description and the job description allowed me to conduct research on the RCT website into the Council’s Digital Strategy which I believed helped in showing my keen interest into the department and their current aim of transforming services to help form part of the council’s digital strategy.