Company: Ultimate Commercial Interiors Ltd
Job Title: Account Manager
Length of time in role: 4 years & 6 months
The first thing I do when I get into work is…
The first thing I do when I get to work is check to see if I have any new emails in my inbox and in my department’s inbox for my attention, and then review my to-do-list to create a prioritised plan of action for the day.
I’m responsible for…
I’m responsible for developing and maintaining strong customer relationships and operating as the prime point of contact for any and all matters specific to client accounts, from the furniture design brief and quotation stage right through to the logistics coordination for deliveries and installations and the day 2 service we provide following project completion/handover.
I work alongside interior designers, suppliers/manufacturers and end users on projects valuing anywhere between £50 to £1Million +.
I’m also involved in general office duties, including answering incoming calls, welcoming clients / interiors designers / suppliers into our office for meetings or to view our showroom, and managing / checking deliveries we receive into our warehouse.
I got the job by…
When I finished Year 11, I started my A Levels in Psychology, Sociology, Law and General Studies, but after 7 months I realised that 6th Form was not for me, and I instead wanted to get a head-start in the ‘real world’ of work. So, I left Sixth Form in March 2017 and attended my first Apprenticeship Fair in Skipton at which I met one of the Directors of Ultimate Commercial Interiors Ltd. We spoke for around an hour about the company and why I was looking for an apprenticeship and what my interests were. I was then invited for an interview at their Head Office in Silsden and to have a look around. Following this, I was offered an apprenticeship with them (through Craven College, Skipton) in business, and started my journey of employment in April 2017. The only previous work experience I had at this stage (aged 16) was pot washing and dessert preparation in my local pub and the organised work experience week we participated in at school, which I completed at Dorothy Perkins in Leeds.
I had always had a passion for interior design, however due to not choosing subjects at GCSE or A Level which were creative based, I came to the conclusion that it was not a possible route for me to take. Now however at Ultimate, I am able to work alongside interior designers on a daily basis and sometimes even undertake the tasks of one myself when selecting fabrics / finishes for furniture items on projects.
My most memorable moment…
One of my most memorable moments, both employment and educational based, was when I had received my results back from completing my first year of my part-time studies through the Open University for my Business Leadership & Management BA Hons Degree (whilst working full-time) and I achieved a 1st Class grade. This was the key point throughout my time at Ultimate that I realised I had made the right decision going through the apprenticeship route to full-time employment, in which I was then able to study a degree at the same time my friends were also going to University. I however had the advantage of acquiring and managing my own income and was therefore able to fund my studies myself which has resulted in me having no student finance debt.
Another ‘proud moment’ is continually having moments when I sit back and realise how far I have progressed. In my first year I completed a £100,000 project on my own as an apprentice, and just recently I have handed over a 5 floor project for large blue chip client in Bristol with no overseeing supervision from a Sales Manager or Director in a client/project management position.
I also funded all of my driving lessons whilst completing my apprenticeship and passed first time within my first year of work, which was another great achievement aided by working!
The most challenging part of my job…
The most challenging part of my job would have to be project management as a whole. It comes ‘naturally’ to me now, as I know how organised I must be, but you always have to stay one step ahead (or five if possible!) It’s essential to plan for the worst-case scenario of anything and identify any possible risks that could happen throughout the project duration to ensure that you do all that you possibly can to prevent these from occurring.
The best part of my job…
The best part of my job is working as a team with colleagues both within my department and other departments of Ultimate to deliver a seamless project to the client which is delivered both on time and to their budget. It’s also motivating and inspiring to see the photography of a completed project in comparison to the initial interior design plans and CGI’s developed for the client prior to any work commencement.
When I finish work…
At the moment I’m still in my final year at university, so my time outside of work is dedicated to my studies for my dissertation and assignments which will contribute to my final degree classification – so it’s an important last few months! Other than this however, I enjoy spending as much time out of the house as possible; whether it’s meeting family and friends, walking my dog, or running errands. I like to make the most of my free time and weekends before I’m back to work.
If I wasn’t in this job I would be…
I guess this depends at what point I wouldn’t be in this job. If it meant going back to 16-year-old me, I guess I would have continued with my A Levels and possibly gone to University full-time to study psychology, policing or law. However, if I were to not be at Ultimate right now, I would probably fall back onto my degree once completed. This is building a foundation for me with many transferable skills and knowledge related to business / leadership / management as a whole, including human resources, marketing, supply chain management, data analysis, finance and accounting and much more, so I would probably look into working in one of these roles.
I am however at the moment committed to Ultimate and its industry entirely and I believe that with the knowledge and experience I have acquired throughout the past 4.5 years, I have much more to offer in my career progression.