Ebrima, 26, works for Sky in Stockport as a Customer Service Advisor. With support from Seetec Outsource, he recently achieved a distinction in his apprenticeship end-point assessment and a valuable qualification in English, despite the struggles he’s faced from an early age as a non-native English speaker.

When Ebrima came to the UK from the Gambia aged 8, he spoke very little English. His father encouraged him to read as many books as possible, but in school he always felt disadvantaged. At primary school he was taught in a separate group, but the support, although well intentioned, often made him feel isolated and affected his confidence with English.

Over the years, Ebrima settled into life in the UK and worked hard to gain an education. He did well at maths, but time and again his language skills proved to be a barrier to success. He tried to pass GCSE English four times – three times in school and once at college – but failed at each attempt, once missing out by a single mark.

Unlocking potential through apprenticeships

Ebrima moved from Brighton to Manchester as a young adult and had a number of different jobs in the hospitality industry, from waiting tables and bar tending to door security. He enjoyed working in customer service but wanted a job with better career progression opportunities, so was delighted when he landed the role of Customer Service Advisor with Sky.

Embedded into the role was a full level 2 apprenticeship programme of learning. In addition to building the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to deliver a high-quality customer experience, the programme included support with functional skills to enable Ebrima to meet the minimum requirements for apprenticeship certification.

Supporting success

Having already achieved the required level in maths, Ebrima concentrated on achieving his English functional skills qualification – this time with great success.

Throughout the programme, he was supported by his apprenticeship coach, Jo, and a functional skills tutor to develop his skills in English. The personalised programme of support included a blend of e-learning, group sessions and 1-2-1 coaching, to ensure he could achieve a pass at level 1 and show that he was working towards a level 2.

Ebrima not only passed functional skills in English at level 1 – he also achieved a pass at level 2, equivalent to a grade 9-4 (A*-C) at GCSE. This was topped off with an overall distinction grade in his apprenticeship end-point assessment.

Ebrima said: “I feel really proud of myself and everything I’ve achieved. I’m so much more confident now and will always have a qualification to prove how much I’m capable of. I’m really grateful to my apprenticeship coach, Jo, and everyone at Sky for believing in me and giving me the chance to succeed.”

Enhancing career prospects

Jo Pritchard, Apprenticeship Development Coach at Seetec Outsource, said: “I am so proud of Ebrima and delighted that he has achieved these results. He’s come such a long way and demonstrated just how far hard work and the right attitude can take you.

“His story is a real inspiration to others, especially those who have struggled to obtain English and maths qualifications previously, and I’m sure this is just the start of an exciting career journey for Ebrima.”

Jonathan Murphy, Customer Experience Leader at Sky and Ebrima’s line manager, added: “Ebrima’s positive attitude and determination to succeed make him a valuable member of our department, and we are thrilled that he has done so well.

“Our apprenticeships support people from all walks of life to unlock their potential, helping them to build rewarding careers at Sky and beyond. I am sure that Ebrima’s success on programme will open many doors in the future.”