Apprentice Signs Up For New Career

Nichola Devaney - Customer Service Representative A chance encounter with a new employer has led 20 year old Bolton mechanic Nichola Devaney into a completely new career. On the look out for a new position after a spell of unemployment, Devaney became aware of a possible position next door to where her partner works on Bury New Road in Bolton. The newly created position of Customer Service Representative at signage, graphics and visual communications company FASTSIGNS®, was advertised on a roadside A board.

Devaney immediately applied and after an interview process, was overjoyed when she heard she had landed the position as an Apprentice.

“After leaving school I qualified as a mechanic and worked for three years at a local garage in Farnworth, before I moved on to other short-lived customer-focused positions.” Finally succumbing to the ravages of the economic turndown, Devaney then spent a frustrating six months unemployed.

“I was diligently applying for between 50 and 70 jobs a week, yet in all that time I had a response back from just 25 companies and two interviews.

Always encouraged with help from friends and family, Devaney spotted the FASTSIGNS job almost by accident.

FASTSIGNS® is based on Bury New Road, Bolton, and owned by husband and wife team Mark and Pauline Wright. Mark has run the business since late 2006 and earlier this year he took the opportunity to establish a new Customer Services Position – and advertised the position in all the usual places and the outdoor A board by the roadside.

Mark said: “Looking at ways to increase the sales turnover and profit of the business, I looked into the new Government apprentice scheme and liked the idea. It is a win-win for all concerned. We get a grant towards salary costs and Nic has the opportunity to re-train and establish a new career. She is a real asset to the company – gets on really well with staff and customers, and is already making a big difference to the business.”

Devaney’s new job involves all aspects of customer services and marketing at the signs and graphics centre whose wide range of customers include local schools, advertising agencies, leisure facilities, manufacturing and car dealerships. As part of the year long apprenticeship she is studying for a NVQ in Customer Services at TraffordCollege.

“Life is good for me now,” she said. “I really enjoy working at FASTSIGNS and find the work very interesting. There’s so much going on in the world of visual communications no two days are the same. I hope I can stay on beyond the apprenticeship and look forward to helping Mark grow the business.”