Funeral arranger Liz Fitzgerald joined the funeral industry with the Co-op as an apprentice in her 50s
When I first joined Co-op, I didn’t have any experience in funeral services. Before I got into the industry, I was a deputy manager in a customer service team, dealing with all sorts of queries from investment bankers handling high-end mortgages, to helping the recently bereaved deal with the ownership of their property. Sadly, my office closed, my day-to-day role changed, and the face-to-face time I had with customers disappeared. I was in my 50s and presented with the chance to retire early, but I wasn’t ready to stop working just yet.
I was introduced to the world of funeralcare when I experienced death in my own family. The support my family received at the time made a massive difference, and I loved the idea of being able to give the same support to others. It took a few applications before I was successful and offered a position as a funeral arranger. That was two years ago, in 2019, and I haven’t looked back since. I passed my apprenticeship with a distinction and officially became a qualified part-time funeral arranger. It feels like I was always meant to be here, and I absolutely love it.
There’s a lot of training to complete before becoming a fully-fledged team member, but it’s all part of the job, and so worth it in the end. I met some amazing colleagues on my training programme, and I made lots of friends I wouldn’t have met otherwise. My trainers were brilliant too, and the love and support Co-op colleagues give each other is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. The apprenticeship was difficult at times, and things can get busy on the job, but if you stick at it and put the time in, you’ll get there in the end. The role is so rewarding, and the feedback you get from clients makes it all worthwhile. If you’re thinking about changing your career, Co-op is a great place to work. And to anyone out there who thinks they’re too old, age is just a number. I love my job, and I can’t even imagine retiring now.
To find out more about apprenticeship training at Co-op, visit jobs.coop.co.uk/apprentices