Wrapping up her learning in March 2022, Mia-Beth won our Learner of the Month award for her commitment to her studies, and the progress she’s made. We caught up with her to find out how the course has helped her.
Congratulations on winning our Learner of the Month award, Mia-Beth! Could you tell us a bit more about you?
I work in the Sales department at Aluminium Windows and Shopfronts. I’ve officially been here for nearly a year, but because it’s a family business, I used to come in every summer since I started comp – just to earn a bit of pocket money really.
This isn’t the first thing I wanted to do after school – I wanted to be a photographer and a journalist. But I love it here because it’s family as well.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Answering a lot of emails, answering the phones, sending quotations to clients and dealing with any customers that come in. I do social media for the business too.
What apprenticeship did you take with us?
Business Admin Level 2. I’ve got my last meeting with Michele on Thursday!
Yay! Congratulations! Have you enjoyed doing the apprenticeship?
A lot. It’s really built my confidence in the work. A lot of the units we talked about are using the phones or dealing with clients, and I struggled with my confidence, especially when speaking to people. As Michele knows, when I first met her, I hardly opened my mouth. I’m really surprised that I’m so confident talking to you, because I hate talking to new people!
But it’s really built my confidence, so I’ve really enjoyed it. I feel like a whole different person.
You wouldn’t think you weren’t confident before, speaking to you now – it must have made a huge difference! What appealed to you about your role at AWS?
I’ve already done it for a few years. I like writing – writing an email or a quote is fine with me.
I like trying to build my knowledge and engage in conversations in the house because my mother and father work here too. I actually know what they’re talking about now!
Has the apprenticeship improved how you do your job?
Definitely, especially with phone calls and dealing with people. Even talking to Michele has built my confidence a lot. I’m a lot more particular with details now than I was in the beginning. The apprenticeship has helped that a lot because I’ve had to follow a structure.
How has Michelle supported you through that?
She’s been amazing – it's actually going to be sad when I finish because we’ve got this connection. She’s quite similar to me and we chat all the time. She’s so supportive. I know I can email her whenever and she’ll answer me straight away.
I was a bit nervous meeting my tutor because I thought ‘well, if I don’t get along with them, how can I go to them for help?’ But she’s been amazing. She’s really good.
She mentioned you did six units in Welsh...
Yes. It was actually on a Zoom call with [Route Manager] Crispin and Michele – Crispin mentioned it. I said I’d be fine with doing the units in Welsh. I learnt Welsh in school but it wasn’t my best subject.
I enjoyed going back to basics – it was really handy. We don’t get a lot of Welsh speakers here, but I know when we do, it’ll be helpful to know a tiny bit of Welsh.
It was fun and it was quite straightforward. It didn’t take a long time either. I had it on so the whole office could hear it. Sometimes, I’d have Bethany in the Accounts department doing the words with me. And our Managing Director, my grandfather, was listening too. I really enjoyed it.
How does your employer support you with everything?
They’re amazing. Obviously, being my mother and father as well, they encourage me to do my coursework and give me a few hours to focus on it. That’s helpful because being in the middle of writing and then picking up the phone, you never get back into the groove you were in.
They’ve been really supportive and Bethany has been amazing too – she's been a witness to all our meetings. I always joke with Bethany - ‘when I’ve completed this qualification, we’ve both done it. You need a certificate aswell!’ I’m always back and fore asking questions – she's been a massive help.
I’ve heard you’re going to be taking on some more responsibilities when the Office Manager goes on maternity leave. How are you feeling about that?
That’s Bethany. I’ll be managing her side of the emails as well and dealing with invoices and payments too. It’s going to be a learning curve. I shadow her every Wednesday when she does wages and pension schemes, just to know what to do.
What motivates you to learn?
I like completing things and getting something at the end of it. I thrive on rewards. My brother likes to call me a geek because I love learning.
I’m a geek too so no judgment here! And do you think taking an apprenticeship has changed your life in some way?
I think so. Leaving school, I never thought about doing an apprenticeship straight away – I was going to have a year out.
My mother and father sat me down and spoke to me about apprenticeships. My school was bad at explaining what else you could do other than university, so I felt like I didn’t have anywhere else to go. It’s really put me on the right path – it's boosted my confidence at work a lot.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of doing an apprenticeship?
Take your time. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – you could start something, and it might not be for you. But just give everything a go 110% and it’ll all work out in the end.
What are your career aspirations? Where will we see you in 10 years?
I’m going to stay here as long as possible. I love it here, and there are sentimental reasons too.
I would like to be a photographer on the side too, probably in newborn photography. Hopefully, I’ll have something going on with it in the next 10 years.
Thank you so much Mia-Beth – we'll be looking out for you!