Where are you from?
I’m from Preston. Quite insanely, I drive in to Sale every day.
Why would you do such a thing?
I’ll be moving to Bolton soon which is why I got a job over this way. I can miss the M61 from where I’ll be and that’s a big plus.
If you had to move somewhere else, where would it be?
If I was going to move properly, I would emigrate to Australia. I’ve been over there twice and I really like it. The weather is better and there seems to be a slightly higher standard of living. I’ve had a few friends who went there for a year and ended up staying permanently. Seems to be the thing to do!
What about within the UK?
Somewhere around the Lake District. If I moved there, I’d buy a BnB.
Is that your retirement plan?
Did you go to college or university?
I went to college and then I started university for a teaching degree. But I got halfway through the first year and decided that it wasn’t for me.
What did you think it was going to be like?
I think all the marking and planning often overshadowed the teaching side. It has to be your whole life, especially for the first three years or so. I always wanted to do it since I was little. It was one of those things where you think you want to do something and then you come up against the reality and you think, “Nope.” But I do enjoy working in that education sector. So I found a good in-between place, in that sense, at TQUK. Here, I feel I have a part in giving people a good education.
How did you end up at TQUK?
It took me ten years of retail to get here. (Laughs.) I enjoyed retail and I was good at it. I started as a sales assistant and climbed my way up to a supervisor position and worked in lots of different shops. But, after a while, the hours were killer. The straw that broke the camel’s back was last year when I was booked to work on Boxing Day. I thought, “This isn’t sustainable.” So, over the summer, I worked for AQA and then this job became available. TQUK’s a lovely place to work. Everyone’s properly motivated and people seem to care about what they do. It’s probably one of the best places I’ve worked.
You used to be in Business Support. Now, you’re on the EPA Team. How do you like it?
It’s a complete change. There’s a lot to learn when you first start. There’s so many different rules and combinations for each apprenticeship standard – it’s really exciting to be part of something so new.
Based on your experience so far, how would you say the industry is adapting?
Some places have been slower than others in embracing the reforms from last year. But we’ve certainly gone full steam ahead. The reforms are so far-reaching that, when I look back on today years from now, it’ll be something I can say l was proud to be a part of. I was there.
When you start something new, do you tend to like things better when you’re thrown into the deep end?
Yeah, I like learning things as I go. I like being a bit nosy – listening in on things and gaining as much knowledge as I can so I can be prepared for everything. Even just chats and conversations are good for that. You never know what little bit of information will help you better understand what you’re working on.
You’re working with Ash and Kelle right now. What’s that like?
Kelle is lovely to work with. She’s a fountain of knowledge. Sometimes, I’ll have a question, she’ll answer and I’ll think, “Wow, how can she know all that at the drop of a hat?” She’s usually on the road but you wouldn’t think it. It feels like she’s always at arm’s reach through the phone or Skype and that makes me feel supported. And Ash is always a pleasure.
Are you tempted to go out on the road with them?
I wouldn’t mind!
What’s one thing you’ve ticked off your bucket list recently?
Was it scary?
Not at all. But there was one moment when my instructor and I were on the way down. She went to pull the cord and said, “Oh no.” Fortunately, she was just having me on. I shouldn’t have told her I wasn’t scared!
Anything else on the bucket list?
A bungee jump.
Anything that’s not an extreme sport?
Thanks for your time!