A VITAL insight into the operation of a major UK company is being made possible for Hannah Smith as she boldly takes up the challenges of a new apprenticeship.

Hannah, 33, is working towards her Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership while working as Area Support Manager for BigYellow Self-Storage in Surrey.

The demanding role means pressure is a normal part of everyday life with her responsibilities encompassing her own workload and teams on the business’ storage sites throughout the region.

However, Hannah’s apprenticeship means she is working in a “real” job while, at the same time, learning all about the business – ranked as the third largest self-storage company in the UK - and how she can help take it forward.

She said: “The apprenticeship is helping me to look at different aspects of the business and way Big Yellow operates versus other self-storage companies. Being involved in this way is introducing me to so many important skills not only for own professional development but also so that I can contribute to making a difference to the organisation.

”New Zealander Hannah joined Big Yellow five years ago to embark on what she describes as her “first proper job” in the UK.

She explained: “I’d been temping in retail jobs since moving here from New Zealand. And although keen to continue in education – back home I had started working towards qualifications in Social Sciences - I knew that wasn’t possible until I had been in the UK for three years.

“It was at a presentation at a store managers’ meeting at Big Yellow where an assessor explained how the apprenticeship system worked and the benefits of going down this route – and it seemed perfect from a career advancement perspective.

”As well as on-the-job training, Hannah studies a couple of hours a week at home along with another hour a week during work time to complete the tasks set to reach her Level 5 goal.

She continued: “It calls for a lot of hard work as my job is very demanding and changes from day to day. However, my assessors at Progress to Excellence Ltd are very understanding of my work and life commitments and help me greatly.

“Once my work is submitted, my tutor marks my submission and then provides feedback to cover any areas missed which then helps to improve further submissions.

”For anyone looking for workplace challenge, Hannah believes an apprenticeship could be the answer.She said: “For those like me who don’t have a degree, a Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership looks great on a CV – something to be really proud of - and actually shows that you can do the job.

“If you can commit to a few hours a week of your own time, want to invest in your personal development, need something to help you in the future and give you an edge over other CVs when looking for employment, then you have everything to gain by completing an apprenticeship."

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