When Telford teenager Lauren Hanley left school, she had no idea what she wanted to do next.
But now, thanks to a successful apprenticeship through Telford College of Arts and Technology, she has become a valued member of the team at supply chain specialists STS, part of the Toyota Manufacturing Group.
Her bosses say ‘the world is her oyster’, and have praised her for bringing so much positive energy to the team at the Stafford Park base. They are also urging other Shropshire employers to consider taking on apprentices.
Lauren, a former Blessed Robert Johnson Catholic College student from Overdale, is now 22, but signed up for a Business Administration level two apprenticeship through TCAT at the age of 19.
She said: “I didn’t know too much about what I wanted to do when I left school, other than wanting to go into an office environment.”
But the perfect career opportunity presented itself when she attended one of TCAT’s skills festivals to find out more about future career options.
Hayley Corbett, Apprenticeship Recruitment Manager at TCAT, explained: “We alerted Lauren to our advert for STS and the job role grabbed her attention straight away.
“She knew this was a good starting point for her career, and we helped support her dreams. Lauren went on to secure the apprenticeship after a two-stage interview process, which also involved meeting the MD and getting a feel for the team.
“She was thrilled as it ticked all the boxes in terms of the job role on offer, how welcoming everyone was, and the training and qualifications she would gain with real-life experience.”
Lauren hadn’t really used telephones before arriving at STS, and had to build confidence in talking with people on the phone, while also developing her Excel skills and knowledge.
Lauren said she chose TCAT as she knew the college, and felt the apprenticeship would provide the kind of work-based study that suited her best. She said she would definitely recommend the route to others.
“I have secured business administration apprenticeship qualifications which I may have not gained without the apprenticeship route, improved my skills in administration, and the job has allowed me to take on new roles at work to continue my development.
“An apprenticeship through TCAT is definitely worth doing, as you are gaining a qualification whilst earning a wage. You get a feel for learning and working.”
STS office manager Vanessa Bottomley said: “This was the first time we had recruited an apprentice, and we really appreciated the support from the college.
“Hayley gave us confidence in the support which the TCAT the team would provide, and this led us to have a positive experience – and also ensure that the apprentice we took on had that same experience too.
“The apprenticeship has worked out better than we could have ever expected, as Lauren is still with us now. She fits into our organisation really well, gets on with the teams and has excelled in everything she has done.
“I would definitely consider recruiting further apprentices in the future. Lauren has been like a breath of fresh air to us; she is enthusiastic, looks forward to coming to work every day, and enjoys her role with us, which reflects in everything she does.
“She has helped bring so much positive energy to our team . . . it’s great.”
Vanessa urged other Shropshire employers to seriously consider taking on an apprentice: “It will open your eyes in terms of the opportunities an apprenticeship can provide for someone, and the organisation.
“Lauren could go anywhere in the business now that she has had that opportunity, and will hopefully continue to stay and grow with us. The world is her oyster.”