Now, nothing’s holding her back as she takes on a new role and strives to be the best she can be. Here, she talks to us about how an apprenticeship has helped her to learn while earning…
Hello Chrystalla! Could you tell us a bit more about what you do?
I’m Chrystalla Moreton and I’m currently on an apprenticeship with Celsa. I’ve been learning with TSW Training since September 2021 on a Level 3 Mechanical Engineering apprenticeship.
I’m in college for my first year but recently, during the half-term break, I was invited onsite at Celsa for two days to observe, so I could see what I’ll be getting into. There’s also the opportunity for me to go onsite during the Easter term break so I’m looking forward to that and seeing exactly what I’m going to be doing. It’ll give me a bit of preparation.
Are you enjoying it?
Yeah – for me, it’s a different role. I’ve never done Mechanical Engineering before so it’s something new, as well.
What appealed to you about your role with Celsa?
At first, I was looking for more mechanical engineering to do with cars, not so much machinery. But I applied for the apprenticeship, open to new opportunities and looking for something to learn new skills in. Once I had the interview, I met a few people there, had a tour and I realised that I really liked it. It was something that I felt interested in.
Will the apprenticeship improve how you do your job in the future?
Yes. I was in the position of not knowing much about it and now I’m learning lots of new information, so for me, it’s a massive development.
Let’s talk about your Training Advisor, Anthony…
He’s really supportive. We have regular meetings every month, and I’m given the opportunity to say what’s going well with the course or anything that’s troubling me, any support or help that he can offer, or anything I need. He’s been a great help.
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He mentioned that you had Covid a while ago. Are you alright now?
Yeah, I’m okay now. I had it in September and had to isolate for two weeks. It was just when I started college and then because my immune system was low after it, I caught a viral infection. So, I was off for another week, not long after. It was quite a bit of time off because I’d just started the course and I was worried that I’d fall behind. But I was lucky that I’d taken to the course quite well. I’ve managed to get back on track and keep up.
Huge well done for getting through all that! It sounds like it was a bit of a nightmarish time.
Do you feel like part of a community when you’re learning?
Everyone’s lovely! We have another pupil in the class from a different company and we all just get along very well, even with the tutors. I can’t fault any of them. Same with the staff at Celsa.
And what do Celsa do to support you?
Terry’s been really supportive with me, personally. Even when he comes in and has chats with us, he’s really easy-going and answers all our questions. He’ll give you all the answers you need. He’s been very supportive with me as I’ve had a lot going on at home too.
What motivates you to learn?
When I was younger, I didn’t make the best choices. I’ve got two younger siblings, so I want to be a good role model to them. I want to set a good example. I want to do well for myself too. I want to achieve and be the best that I can be in this industry. Anyone who tries to tell me I can’t do it; I just want to prove them wrong. That’s a driver too.
Do you think taking this apprenticeship has changed your life?
I’ve been to college previously, during my A-Levels. At that time, it just wasn’t right for me. Because of the choices I made with the courses, it was quite repetitive so going into something new and learning those new skills, it’s been beneficial. To learn and earn at the same time has been really beneficial because a lot of the time, I could fall behind with studies due to having to take on so much work but with an apprenticeship, I’m getting paid as well. I’m getting paid to learn but I’m also enjoying learning.
What advice would you give to people thinking of taking up an apprenticeship?
I’d definitely recommend it. Being 20 now, I wish I’d done it sooner, when I first left school. Four years later, I was still in the same position – on minimum wage, working all the hours I could and having nothing to show for it. If I would have taken it sooner, I would have finished by now and I could have been in a company.
But now, I’m working, I’ve got the apprenticeship, I’m learning and I’ve got something to show at the end of it. I’ll have a Level 3 in Mechanical Engineering, and not only that but I’ve got a job secured at the end of it as well.
What are your career aspirations? Where will we see you in 10 years’ time?
Ideally, I want to work my way up at Celsa. I want to be the best I can be at what I’m doing. I’d also like to explore the option of working in other countries too.
We’re sure you’ll be fab, Chrystalla!