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Sabrina Sihra is April’s Learner of the Month

Taking the title of Learner of the Month for April 2018 is Sabrina Sihra, who has been working for Virgin Trains East Coast as a Marketing Apprentice for just over six months!

Prior to her apprenticeship Sabrina completed her A-Levels, achieving three A*s in English Literature, Media and Graphics. She said she chose an apprenticeship because she didn’t want to go to University, she told us “[University] just wasn’t for me. After working so hard in my A-Levels I just wanted to finally get out and do something with meaning in the real world.”

Virgin Trains East Coast came to life in 2015 as a joint partnership between Virgin and Stagecoach with a route running the full length of the East Coast, connecting Aberdeen and Inverness with King’s Cross, calling at many stations in between. Virgin Trains East Coast is responsible for managing a number of stations on the route and regularly recruits for amazing people to join these teams.

Sabrina was nominated for Learner of the Month by her Skills Development Coach who described Sabrina as: “An extremely creative individual who rises to challenges put in front of her. She is the most organised apprentice I have ever met, she not only completes tasks set for her and doesn’t wait for me, and submits her own tasks by going through the qualification herself and recognising when she’s done work and how this can be adapted to her portfolio. Sabrina understands the opportunity she has been given and has grasped it with both hands.”

One of Sabrina’s trainers also praised Sabrina’s hard work, saying: “I had the pleasure of training Sabrina last week, she was extremely organised and took the lead in a small project that I set the for group, she conducted herself in such a professional manner, organised the other members of the team, set targets and goals and produced a video of a really high quality. I fully believe that she could overcome any obstacle put in front of her and be a really successful employee in any company.”

When asked about how she felt her apprenticeship was going so far, Sabrina replied; “It’s really good, I’m really enjoying it – It’s nice because I get a feel for everything. For example, I was in the digital team for about three months and now I’m in the campaigns team and then I’ll move onto the partnerships team.”

“I was looking after the website and the landing pages. So, if we had to get a landing page live I’d help to build that. I led on a PCC ad copy test, which involved rewriting the new copy of the website and getting a testing plan together for that too!”

“Everything is changing to digital media and IT so I guess I chose an apprenticeship because I wanted to get a head start in that.”

“My favourite module that I have studied at Estio had been coding, 100%! I loved coding! It was a new thing for me; I’ve always been interested in it but that week of training showed me just how interested I am in it, it’s certainly something I want to pursue now that I’ve learnt the basics of it!

“I’ve felt so supported throughout my apprenticeship by my Trainers and Line Managers, but especially by my Skills Development Coach, I always have questions to ask him and he always goes out of his way to find answers for me”

Here’s what the team at Virgin Trains East Coast had to say about Sabrina’s time working with them:

“Apprentices are an essential part of our teams at Virgin Trains East Coast and whenever we are due to start recruiting for a new role, we encourage our managers to think about how we could incorporate the role into an apprenticeship. We’ve employed Engineering Apprentices at our Maintenance Depots in Scotland and London for decades that have gone on to enjoy really successful and rewarding careers with the company. More recently we have taken on apprentices in other areas too such as our Talent Team, the Community Engagement Team, and of course in the Marketing Team too! We will definitely be taking on more apprentices going forward.

“Our current Marketing Apprentice gets involved in a variety of tasks, from supporting in our big advertising campaigns to leading on a number of our digital always on channels. It’s a really hands on role and no two days are the same.

“Bringing entry level talent onboard brings with it a number of advantages for us such as providing new eyes, ideas and fresh talent to the business. Being at the very beginning of their career, apprentices can bring with them a raw talent to be nurtured; leading to targeted and focused employees who are hopefully loyal to the company for a long time.”

We’d like to congratulate Sabrina for all of her hard work paying off and wish her the best for her future!

If you would like to nominate a learner for Learner of the Month then please contact with the following details:

Learner’s Name:
Manager’s Name:
Contact tel no:
Reason for nomination:

Amy Smith

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