Trailblazers for customer service skills

24th Oct 2014

The Institute of Customer Service welcomes the introduction of the new Customer Service Apprenticeship Standard as a major step in improving the quality of customer service skills and demonstrating its importance for the UK economy.

Earlier this week the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched the third phase of the Trailblazer standards development groups under the Government’s latest reform of Apprenticeship standards. The Institute of Customer Service is proud to announce that they are part of the Customer Service Trailblazer employer group which is one of three Trailblazers as part of the Business Skills/Business Group.The employer group, chaired by Boots UK, will focus on Customer Service Apprenticeship Standards.

The group is made up of 20 organisations which are committed to working together to raise standards of customer service and equip young people with the skills to succeed. The organisations include some of the UK’s largest businesses alongside two professional bodies and a number of SMEs and are representative of our sector and are willing to work with other employers who come forward with an interest in this occupation and with colleagues from other sectors where our standards are closely related. The Institute of Customer Service is the professional organisation that will ensure the quality of the new Apprenticeship Standard.

Jo Causon, Chief Executive, Institute of Customer Service:

“Improving customer service delivery is critical to the long term sustainability of the UK economy and the apprenticeships programme provides all employees – and in particular young people – with a transferable set of skills which will increase their employability across all sectors.Collaboration between employers, the government and external experts is crucial to developing our young people, addressing skills shortages and reducing youth unemployment.Many organisations have shown they recognise the urgent need for customer service upskilling and 20 of those are included in this group. I look forward to working with them to support them on the journey to develop new Customer Service Apprenticeship Standards.”

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

“I congratulate the Customer Service Trailblazer employer group for their key role it is playing in developing new top-quality apprenticeships. Through the trailblazers initiative the organisations, in collaboration with their industry partners, will give people the skills they need to thrive and our businesses need to compete.”In support of today’s announcement, Managing Director Health & Beauty UK and ROI, Alliance Boots, Simon Roberts, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity to further support apprenticeships in the UK and to develop the New Customer Service Apprenticeship standards. We pride ourselves on delivering the best care for our customers and are looking forward to working with other likeminded businesses to raise the standard and professionalism in customer service across all industries.”

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About The Institute of Customer Service

The Institute of Customer Service is the professional body for customer service delivering tangible benefit to organisations and individuals so that our customers can improve their customers' experience and their own business performance. The Institute is a membership body with a community of over 400 organisational members - from the private, public and third sectors - and over 5,000 individual memberships.

For more information about the Institute of Customer Service go to www.instituteofcustomerservice.com

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