United Utilities credit control apprentice scoops top gong at National Apprenticeship Awards

A Warrington apprentice has scooped the top accolade at the National Apprenticeship Awards, being recognised for his commitment to his career and his passion for helping customers.

Sam Johnson, Apprentice Credit Controller at United Utilities, won the Babington Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at a ceremony in London. He had previously won the North West title, which put him in the running for the national going up against the other six regional winners.

Sam, 19, finished his GCSEs and then enrolled on a BTEC Sport course at college. Despite completing that with a distinction and two merits in May 2021, he decided to earn while he learned, rather than heading to university to study full-time. Sam has a real interest in the world of profit margins, revenue and customer relations, having been something of an entrepreneur in his school days, and so he decided to enter the world of income.

Sam joined the regional water company in September 2021 to work towards a Credit Controller and Collector Apprenticeship standard. His role is all about customer service, helping people set up payment arrangements that suit them so they can get back on track with their bills and reduce their debt.

“I’m so thankful for my mentor Matt Newman for encouraging me to enter the North West Awards, and it was amazing to win and go forward to the national finals,” Sam said. “I never really thought I would win against the other regional finalists, so I was really chuffed. My mum was crying and the whole table was cheering, it was fantastic.

“At United Utilities I feel ready to achieve and go beyond expectations, and the support from my mentor, team leader, and everyone at the company helps me do that. I’ve had chance to experience the work of different teams since joining and have found the perfect place for me to thrive within Nikki Carney’s team.

“Nikki has taught me a lot in terms of my role and coached me how to negotiate effectivity with customers. It’s really important to me to be able to help others, so supporting people who are going through financial hardship is really rewarding.

“I’m looking forward to what the future holds. I’ll keep working hard and see what else I can achieve.”

Nikki Carney, Income Team Leader, added: “This is the first time a United Utilities apprentice has taken home a national title, and we’re all so proud of Sam. He is a fantastic member of the team who goes above and beyond to find the right solution for each customer who is struggling to pay their bill.

“He has a clear passion for his work and we can see a really bright future for him.”

Sam has also been shortlisted for the Chartered Institute of Credit Management Rising Star Award in February 2023.



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