Meet Ben Barclay:
Ben Barclay recently graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree, majoring in English and minoring in Media & Cinema Studies. In his last year at U of G, Ben applied for the Guelph Arts Apprenticeship Program (GAAP), a program designed for graduating College of Arts & Bachelor of Arts and Science Majors which provides the opportunity of a 1-year paid professional work experience with a Guelph employer. Through GAAP, Ben was hired at Danby as a Consumer Service Representative and has recently been promoted to Team Lead: Escalations and Mentorship! He credits such early career success to GAAP and the training that is involved in the program before applying to jobs including resume building, interview preparation, and more. Read more to learn about Ben’s experience in the program and about the beginning of his career at Danby!
Kickstart your career; register for GAAP today at uoguelph.ca/arts/gaap
What skills or insights did you gain throughout GAAP?
“GAAP allowed me to gain skills and insight on all aspects of job searching from how to prepare the most effective cover letters and resumes, all the way to how to prepare for specific questions in interviews. If it were not for GAAP, I would have had no idea how off I was in my resume and cover letter building and interview preparation. The program really taught me skills and tactics here that I will use for the remainder of my career.”
“Entering the working world and job hunting for positions that aren't just for a summer, but for a full-time career can be and was intimidating at first; especially considering all the talk and stereotypes about arts degrees. GAAP helped take much of that worry away and replaced it with feelings of excitement for the opportunity to find meaningful and effective employment in my field. What I thought was going to be a 1-year placement has quickly turned into an unbelievable opportunity to develop and learn within a great company for the foreseeable future at Danby.”
Tell us about the promotion you received!
“I was hired initially at Danby as a consumer service representative where I handled many email cases and phone calls. I was doing that and mostly many email cases from May-October until I was offered a promotion from my managers to Team Lead: Escalations and Mentorship. I am now currently in that role and thriving! The main duties of the role are providing mentorship and coaching to all the agents on the team focusing on training and being their first line of support where they can ask questions when they are stuck, don't know the answer to something, or need help on how to reply to a consumer.”
“My other focus in the role is to handle minor supervisor requests and help consumers as a supervisor when needed while also completing quality inspections, pick-ups, warranty claims, and completing authorization paperwork for the team; ensuring all necessary fields are complete.”
What has been your favorite part about working at Danby so far?
“My favorite part is how inclusive everyone is to learn different aspects of not only consumer service but in whole all the different aspects of the business. It starts from the top with our CEO Jim Estill who is phenomenal. I guess what I am trying to say is the culture is my favorite part, in combination with the people. Even in a pandemic-ridden 2020, I have felt welcomed with open arms and have had no issues of communication, feeling heard and included. I'm so excited to hopefully be able to meet everyone in person in 2021 and be even more included in the culture.”
What would your advice be to anyone applying to GAAP this year?
“My advice to the applicants entering GAAP this year is to not be discouraged by the pandemic. I only had one in-person GAAP workshop in March of 2020 before we needed to stay home and move online. After the pandemic began, Nicola and the others who ran the program didn't stop caring or trying to help me. They were awesome and it is evident they really care and want to help us enter the working world and succeed.”
“I'd also recommend thinking of it as something far different from your regular classes; it will help with perspective. Stick with it, put the effort and time in, and just continue to be positive throughout. GAAP is an enormous tool at our disposal as Art students to help jumpstart our careers. Take advantage!”