MIRTAS Apprenticeship Gaz Hamblin at Guitar Village - Farnham

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an apprentice at Guitar village in Surrey and I’ve been here nearly a year. I started out in the warehouse with bits coming in and stock going out but now I’ve progressed to sales and to shop floor maintenance and become more of an all-round member of staff.

How did you come to be working at Guitar Village on the MIRTAS apprenticeship?

My colleague here at the time suggested it. She thought I was someone she could see working as part of the group and saw it as a good opportunity for me.

What do you most enjoy about your apprenticeship placement?

Working around what I enjoy, the people that I have met and I have some good opportunities to play with some good musicians as well. Just seeing the latest gear is great fun. My role has really improved and become more exciting from previously being a little mediocre. Now it’s a lot better – I can look up a lot of information online, for example.

What do you hope to gain from the apprenticeship?

I hope to gain my qualification and carry on with the job that I’m now in. I want to stay working in this industry and continue working around the people that I like.

What have been some of your challenges along the way?

Managing my time. At the start it was a confidence issue. Speaking to customers was a bit of a challenge, particularly if they had questions I wasn’t so sure about. Answering the phones was a big one but I’ve sort of ‘manned up’ and got on with it because you can’t just dwell on it. If you want to do something, you have to get on and do it. So that’s basically what I did.

How has the apprenticeship aided you in your personal development?

It has made me more aware of what I want to do and made me value the opportunity to gain a qualification at the end of it. It’s taught me more about customer service as well – the way I should act in a business situation. Overall it’s been a good opportunity to learn and take new things on board.

What have been your greatest achievements while on the MIRTAS Apprenticeship programme?

Probably just progressing forwards – not being bottom of the barrel but from being ‘new boy’ and then going up and up with more freedom to become a big part of the shop has been really nice. We’re not a big team of people and so it’s become a really good thing for me. Because of the product knowledge and improved confidence I’ve been involved in some big sales.

What’s the most expensive thing you have sold?

About £9,000 all in; A couple of guitars, an amplifier and some pedals with a padded bag.

And did you handle all that yourself?

Yeah.

How has the apprenticeship helped you with your career path?

It has shown me that this is what I want to do. You want to do what you like doing and this has provided me with the opportunity to identify that and has proven to be a good opportunity to take.

Would you recommend this apprenticeship to others, and if so why?

Yes, definitely, because if any musician wants to get into the industry they may struggle or not know how to get involved. This opportunity has put me in that situation but I haven’t just been chucked in and been told, ‘Do this job’. They teach you how to do the job while you are doing the job.

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