A mum in a Million – an apprenticeship at LEC Consultancy is working for Courtney Million
DESIGN apprentice Courtney Million is building a successful career at LEC Consultancy in Peterlee. The 19-year-old explains in her own words how she is achieving professionally and personally as mum to her toddler, Ellie-Rose.
Before starting my apprenticeship at LEC Consultancy, I spent a year at East Durham College doing a Level Three Subsidiary Diploma in Creative and Media.
Shortly after completion, I found out I was pregnant.
This meant I was unable to continue my diploma and ended up spending the next two years being a full time mum to my new baby daughter. Once she turned 18 months, I decided that it was time to do something more productive and started my A Levels through a distant learning college called Open Study.
This way I could still be home with my daughter but could gain qualifications to better my chances of getting a job. I studied A level Maths, English and Psychology while going to a night class at the college to study Level two counselling. I also started to apply for jobs and apprenticeships as I was determined that I would find work.
I wanted to be able to give my daughter the best possible life and be a positive role model for her. However, when applying for jobs I was getting nowhere because I had no experience. That’s when I found out about apprenticeships and learned that they may be the best option for me because I could get the qualifications I needed whilst also gaining the experience companies were looking for.
The apprenticeship I am on is the level three Diploma in IT User Skills, which is through Peterlee based KF Training.
Once I had applied for the apprenticeship I received an email asking me to go and meet the advisor and take some basic Maths and English tests. This was the first time I’d heard of KF Training and was slightly worried in case I didn’t qualify to progress to interviews stage.
However I was successful and when I went for my interview with Leanne English, the MD of LEC Consultancy, I remember being really scared because I knew this was the apprenticeship that I really wanted as it was my dream to get a job in design.
“I would recommend an apprenticeship to any young parent because it has given me a great start and put me in an excellent position to build a successful career and future for myself and my daughter. There is also lots of support available for young parents which has really helped me.”
I felt really pleased with the response I got from my design for the brief given to me in the interview, and felt very positive when I left. When I eventually got the call from KF Training saying I had been successful I was so happy I started to cry.
I spent three years at college doing media and design and had always hoped I could get a job in design. Now I’m one step closer to that and am currently building up my portfolio and experience.
I was so nervous on my first day and didn’t really know what to expect. But I really enjoyed it, particularly getting straight into the job by helping with the property pages of a supplement we were designing for a local newspaper.
This allowed me to get a feel of how the business worked and the processes involved. I found my first week really exciting and getting to know the team was great.
Over the past four months I have been involved in lots of interesting projects. One of the first ones I worked on was work booklets for Northern Rights – a local training and employment support company. I liked working on this project because it was really detailed and there was so much to be done.
We also worked on the design elements for Durham Oktoberfest, which was a very intense project as we only had a few weeks to get all the design work done and printed. I enjoyed the fact it was such an intensive project and there were so many different tasks to be done.
I don’t think there is anything I dislike about the work because it’s different every day. Sometimes it can be very challenging when there is a limited amount of time to get a project done, or the deign brief changes. Often we have to come up with several designs before we find one that works but when we do it’s very rewarding.
“I wanted to be able to give my daughter the best possible life and be a positive role model for her. However, when applying for jobs I was getting nowhere because I had no experience. That’s when I found out about apprenticeships and learned that they may be the best option for me because I could get the qualifications I needed whilst also gaining the experience companies were looking for.”
I have enjoyed working on all the projects that I have been involved in and it’s a great feeling when they come back from print seeing that all the hard work and stress has paid off and the client is happy with them. I also enjoy going to events and meeting clients.
Oktoberfest so far has been my favourite because it was completely different to every day work and allowed me to meet lot of different people and answer any questions they had about Peterlee Business Park. I also had the chance to have a look at all the other exhibitor stands and some of them were really interesting. I particularly liked the 3D printer and thought it was amazing how it worked.
I really hope that when I finish my apprenticeship I am able to stay on at LEC and continue to work with the diverse mix of clients we have.
I would recommend an apprenticeship to any young parent because it has given me a great start and put me in an excellent position to build a successful career and future for myself and my daughter. There is also lots of support available for young parents which has really helped me.
LEC Consultancy http://www.lecconsultancy.co.uk
KF Training: http://www.kftraining.co.uk