From education to employment

Wei combined family life with her apprenticeship to get her career back on track

iPad on top of pile of books

National Apprenticeship Week 2023, from 6-12 February, focuses on the theme ‘Skills for Life’. Wei Jia has completed her International Freight Forwarding Apprenticeship provided by Seetec Outsource and is now combining her permanent role at Woodland Group – where she used to be a customer – with her busy home life.

A former client of Woodland Group is now working for them having proved age is no barrier to success by completing an apprenticeship in her 40s.

Wei Jia, 41, from Saffron Walden, decided she wanted to reinvigorate her career which she had put on hold to raise her two children.

She had tried part-time jobs in shops, post offices and banks, and running her own online business importing goods from China – which is where she had worked with the logistics experts at Woodland Group – but was keen to do something more fulfilling.

Wei saw her International Freight Forwarding apprenticeship advertised on a job site and remembered the good experiences she had with the team at Woodland as a client.

She completed the apprenticeship in conjunction with her family commitments in just over a year and has now landed a full-time job in the ocean import department.

Wei said the sacrifices she made to complete her apprenticeship had been worthwhile.

“It was a struggle to balance the apprenticeship with my family life, but if you can keep moving forward you will feel the benefit,” she said.

“A lot of the time I would have to get the children sorted and in bed and then sit down at my desk to do assignments at 10pm.

“I wanted to find something interesting and where I could build a future career.

“When I saw the apprenticeship advertised, I recognised the name Woodland straight away.

“I would tell people like me that apprenticeships are really good. It might be hard, but no pain, no gain, and once you have completed it then you are set for a bright future.”

Wei moved to the UK in 2005 after her husband secured a job on these shores, and she said the apprenticeship had improved her social life and her language skills.

“Before, it would have taken me so long to write things down, but I am finding I can do it faster and faster,” she said.

“It has also enabled me to get out of the house and speak to more people.

“I hope my experience can help all mums who are in the same situation and may struggle returning to work, because it is never too late to start.”

Richard Lissimore-Hird, Group Training Manager at Woodland Group, said:

“As an employer who believes strongly in staff progression, development and promoting from within, apprenticeships give Woodland Group an incredible platform to not only support, but also showcase new and rising talent within our company and the wider industry.

“We are constantly searching for the next generation of logistics superstars, with a vast majority of our current apprentices joining us straight from school or college. But, we also use apprenticeships to advance the skills of current team members, giving them the tools and practical experience to step in to new roles and even promotions across the group.”

Lloyd DeVal, Director of Sector Skills at Seetec Outsource, said:

“For individuals of all ages, whether school leavers or those looking to retrain, logistics apprenticeships offer fantastic opportunities to learn, earn and develop their skills and their futures.”

To find out more about logistics apprenticeships with Seetec, see:

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