A young student is bucking the trend for women in trades and developed aspirations for a career ‘on the tools’, thanks to her work experience placement with repairs and maintenance provider, Mears Group.
A chance conversation with a family friend led to 15-year-old Courtney Kiddell being selected for a placement with Mears Group’s Thurrock branch for two days a week.
Courtney had been finding full-time school challenging and was keen to gain more hands-on experience of working life. Her school agreed that a workplace placement could be beneficial for many reasons, and she began working in the Mears Group office in November last year.
Her duties have mainly been administration and planning, and she has shown particular aptitude for call handling; actively speaking to customers and dealing with enquiries.
Mentor Gary Luscombe, Head of Operations, said:
“Courtney has excelled in her role, which has already been reflected in better grades at school. She’s taken complete ownership of any tasks she undertakes, has excellent understanding and is always asking for something to do.”
“It’s good working for Mears – I’m treated more like an adult than a student and I’m enjoying the hands-on experience.”
Her workplace experience has been so positive that it’s sparked ambitions to join the Mears Apprenticeship scheme in September next year once she’s completed her GCSEs. She particularly has her sights set on training as an electrician or plumber.
Plans are now in place for her to join some of the electrical and plumbing operatives out on site, learning more about her prospective career and learning in a safely supervised multi-trade environment.
All three of the branch’s work experience students are now succeeding in school; attending regularly and excelling in the workplace, supported by members of staff who are trained mentors. The schools partnership has proved to be beneficial not only for the students, but also the mentors’ own personal development and training – with placements also about to start at another school in the town.
The application window for Mears’ apprenticeships is open from February until June every year. This ensures that apprentices are in post by August ready for the academic year to start in September.