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A brief career path of a Digital and Systems Officer at Hoople

Tuesday 20 August 2019 10.35am

Ben was adamant he wasn’t going to college. The idea of extending a similar environment he had at school seemed mad. 

Ben was shy and found it difficult to fit in with his peers throughout his school years. Fast-forward just six years later and he’s leading our digital inclusion and transformation projects within the Revenues and Benefits team. 

So how did Ben get a role at Hoople?

Unsure of what to do next, Ben had a meeting with a careers advisor. They talked to him about apprenticeship opportunities and Ben’s eyes lit up when they mentioned he could earn whilst he learned.

An opportunity for an apprentice business administration position at Hoople was posted in 2012 and Ben was quick to apply. He was unsure what the role involved and had nothing much to compare it with either. He just knew that the opportunity was a fresh start from his usual academic routine.

Shortly after joining Hoople (and before the days of online banking!) Ben strolled to the closest ATM to view his first payslip. With a beaming grin, he headed out to buy his first laptop. He felt a massive sense of independence and pride, and this fuelled him to keep working towards his apprenticeship.

At first Ben thought it was ‘pay day’ he loved most about the job, but on reflection he realised how much the working environment meant to him. He didn’t enjoy sports and wasn’t too keen on participating in school either; this was the first time Ben was a part of a team. The first time he felt valued.

What did Ben do after his apprenticeship?

It took Ben about a year to complete his apprenticeship. He definitely had the grounding and knew he wanted to continue working at Hoople. Fortunately, a full-time role was available around the time his training was ending. Ben applied and was offered the job as an Administration Assistant to start immediately.

This wasn’t a role Ben felt he could have fallen into before doing his apprenticeship. His confidence grew so much in the first year of his career and the support from the whole team really drove his next steps into a permanent position.

The anxieties of making external phone calls at the start of his working journey were soon being replaced by anticipating how to meet the needs of customers in the best way possible.

Ben quickly began to form an interest in what the bigger picture of the Revenues and Benefits service looked like. This curiosity soon led Ben to apply for a junior development position in his existing team.

Moving from administration to development

This was a big move for Ben. Granted, he knew the industry and the team fairly well, but the day job was going to be a completely new challenge.

He was eased in to the new role with an opportunity to shadow a senior colleague, this gave Ben the confidence to methodically learn his new tasks and ask any questions he needed answering.

He soon settled in and after spending just over a year assisting in the development team, Ben applied for a new role as the Systems and Development Officer for Revenues and Benefits which he was successful in securing.

This new position saw Ben liaising with software providers, applying new developments and resolving any issues received from our customers.

His day was filled with testing and implementing a portfolio of software upgrades, this seems like a world away from where Ben started. However, he still shares the same buzz of excitement when delivering digital inclusion projects with his team as he did when he was assisting the administrators back in 2012.

The next steps in Ben’s career?

Ben has climbed an incredible professional ladder at Hoople and has recently taken on the role of Digital and Systems Officer, leading the Revenues and Benefits online systems and developing customer-facing software with a focus on improving user experience.

Sonia Lowther, Revenues and Benefits Operational Manager (Ben’s current Manager):

“In 2012 I interviewed a very young Ben for an apprentice position in Revenues and Benefits. It was his first interview so I tried to make him feel at ease, as he was very nervous.

One memory that sticks in my mind from the interview is when I asked Ben what he wanted to do for a career and he told me he would probably work in a warehouse as an Operative.

Obviously I was a little taken back as this was a million miles away from anything Revenues & Benefits do so although a little apprehensive as to whether he would stick at the Apprenticeship, everything Ben was saying suggested he would be a perfect fit within the team. It also taught me a lot about encouraging apprentices; leaving school and college can be daunting, and without having previous experience in working, it is very difficult to know what you want to do as a future career!

I have watched Ben grow from a shy 16 year old and blossom into a confident young man as well as flourishing into new roles as his career progresses.

His current position now works closely alongside me and he continues to grow in assertiveness and confidence whilst carrying out his duties with the utmost diligence. I happily mentor Ben along the way as I believe he is the future of Revenues & Benefits in Hoople and I am extremely proud of how far he has come.”

Ben’s aspirations are not slowing down. He would love to increase his development skills in other front facing environments too, like web development and digital marketing. He has been closely involved in promoting the projects he has worked on and has developed a curiosity in how we could deliver the same quality of service to potential customers in a similar way as we do with our existing customers.

Ben is an example of continuing to learn and adapt within a digital age. Alongside improving his development skills, he is currently completing a level 4 qualification with The Institute of Revenues Rating Valuation (IRRV).

Could you see yourself going far with an Apprenticeship?

If you like the sound of exploring a similar route to Ben, or want to find out more about apprenticeship opportunities within Hoople or beyond, please contact