An apprenticeship is always right

In a small shop, customer service can be as simple—and important—as the person behind the counter giving a friendly greeting and helping shoppers find what they’re looking for. Larger businesses and other organisations might employ a dedicated customer service team, whose job it is to answer questions, give advice and offer refunds on faulty products or services. They’re also the ones who have to sort out problems and deal with complaints.

Customer service often involves dealing with the public face-to-face, but as many companies now have clients all round the world, telephone call centres and computer help desks are becoming increasingly important.

As well as serving their existing customers, businesses need to find new ones and persuade them to buy things. This is where sales comes in—salespeople persuade customers to buy products or services, and the business they bring in keeps the customer services team busy.

Customer service is at the heart of most business activity, so the skills gained from the apprenticeships in this sector will prove valuable across a range of industries and roles.

There are 15 apprenticeships in this sector, with each able to prepare you for one or more facets of working within customer service and retail. In particular, the bakery, butcher and fishmonger apprenticeships allow you to specialise in areas of retail that are in high demand.

Interests and skills

Consider a career in customer service and retail if you are a good communicator and dealing with people is one of your main strengths. Jobs can be undertaken across industries and businesses, as many have a need to deal directly with customers.

School subjects

The school subjects that may prepare you for an apprenticeship in customer service and retail include:

  • English
  • Business studies
Further reading

To find out more about apprenticeships in customer service and retail, visit:

Customer service and retail apprenticeships

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Contact centre operations apprenticeship

Contact centres – sometimes known as ‘call centres’ – provide a way for people to get in touch with businesses

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Customer service apprenticeship

The Customer Service apprenticeship teaches you the skills to provide excellent customer service, and can be applied to hundreds of

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Facilities management apprenticeship

Facilities managers are responsible for the systems and people that make a building operate effectively, efficiently and safely. Activities include

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Funeral operations and services apprenticeship

Good funeral providers help families through difficult times, providing care, support and reassurance when it matters most. As an apprentice

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Property maintenance apprenticeship

The role of a property maintenance operative is to optimise the condition and quality of a property and to ensure

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Property services apprenticeship

Buying a house is the biggest purchase most of us will make in our lives – estate agents do a

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Retail apprenticeship

Retail covers a host of businesses, from market stalls and independent shops to national chains and large superstores, and the

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Sales and telesales apprenticeship

A Sales and Telesales apprenticeship could lead to a variety of roles in a range of sectors, helping customers to

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Trade business services apprenticeship

Trade business means business-to-business selling, normally in bulk. Trade businesses do not sell to the public and are normally membership

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