As a charity, resources at Conway Hall are limited, and for many years, the venue has had no front desk service, which has created additional pressures on other front of house staff. Head of Visitor Operations, Maggie Nightingale, was keen for the charity to take on its first ever apprentice, to provide a first point of contact for visitors, partners and hirers, to ease pressures on other staff and to diversify the workforce by bringing a younger demographic to the organisation.
Kheira Hadjazi, 23, from North West London, was successfully appointed to the new role as a Community Arts Administration apprentice in November 2018, and since her appointment has had a profound effect on staff morale at Conway Hall. Staff and tenants all report being happier that they’re greeted by a friendly face, and front of house staff have reported feeling more able to take care of their own responsibilities thanks to Kheira’s support. Kheira’s presence has enabled new changes to be implemented, including introducing the use of radios and developing policies around customer care, which have improved communication and morale.
Maggie said: “Kheira’s role is very varied - she answers the phone and deals with general enquiries, provides visitor information, promotes membership and donations, and runs a small merchandise shop on busy days. She works closely with marketing on event listings and posters and has taken a lot of pressure off them by managing information via our kiosk.
Maggie continued: “Kheira’s impact on customer care has been the most significant. Her presence ensures that visitors have a warm welcome and ready access to information about the location of events in the venue. It has been a delight to watch her go from being an unconfident and uncertain young woman to a person quite sure about the work she enjoys, who can manage difficult situations very confidently.”
NCCI Industry Practitioner, Amy Hicks, supports Kheira and her employer throughout the apprenticeship programme, with extra help when required to enable her to quickly develop into her role.
Kheira said: “I joined Conway Hall because I wanted to start a career and it was something I hadn’t done before. I like the events that happen here and getting to know what they are about, interacting with hirers and customers, and the staff are a fantastic bunch to work with. When I began my apprenticeship, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but with the support of my assessor, Amy, and my manager Maggie, I now know I’d like a long-term career in the Arts.”