Apprenticeship and Skills Hub has helps Emily reach the unachievable

27 Aug 2021
Apprenticeship and Skills Hub has helps Emily reach the unachievable

Emily Eastwood-Duke contacted the Apprenticeship and Skills Hub in September 2020. As someone who had been home-schooled, Emily had not achieved formal qualifications. The hub worked with Emily to develop her CV and eventually helped to enrol her onto a Traineeship with SBC Training. Emily’s story is truly inspirational to see how she has overcome these barriers and is now a Warehousing Apprentice with Aico.

Here is Emily’s story in her own words:

“My name is Emily Duke and I enrolled as an SBC training student in September 2020.  Due to illness I had to leave school in Year 8, therefore being unable to carry out my GCSEs, which is why I found SBC training incredibly beneficial to starting my career.  

When I first enrolled, I felt very overwhelmed as I didn’t have any qualifications and was unsure of how to introduce myself into a working environment. However, just under a year later I can happily say that I have progressed past those worries. I have now completed and passed my Level 2 Functional Skills [in] Maths and English, meaning that I have qualifications equivalent to GCSEs. In addition, I was able to take part in over 100 hours of work experience at Aico ltd. This gave me valuable workplace skills and greatly increased my confidence.  

Following my work experience at Aico ltd, I was offered an apprenticeship within their operations department. I have now been a member of staff at Aico for over a month and I am unbelievably grateful that I have been able to achieve so much with the help of SBC Training. 

Overall, I would highly recommend SBC Training and I am very appreciative of the help and opportunities they have presented to me. Whereas I used to feel that I wouldn’t be able to have a successful career, I can now say that I am on the path towards the very thing that I once thought was unachievable.” 

Emily’s achievement should also be credited to the opportunities Aico has provided to her. Lee Duff, Operations and Learning & Development Manager at Aico said, “Emily came to us on work experience, it was clear from the time she spent in every department she was going to be an asset to the company.  We had a number of apprenticeship opportunities open; it seemed a perfect opportunity for her to join us, she showed a real interest in the operations department and for us it was an easy decision to add her to the team.  Since she has become a full-time member of the team she has gone from strength to strength, excelling at the in house training and undertaking several small projects that have led to direct improvements within the department.  I thoroughly look forward to having her as part of the team for many years to come.”

The team and SBC Training have been roused by Emily’s development in such a short space of time and pleased to see how the work of the Apprenticeship and Skills up has helped to better her prospects. Sophia Collis added, “Emily was obviously quite anxious about meeting with me, or anyone, when I first started to work with her.  However, it soon became clear how very bright and chatty she is.  I know she has had some personal challenges to deal with, but she has been a real pleasure to work with from the start.

“I worked with Emily at SBC's Apprenticeship and Skills Hub before she started her traineeship at Aico and worked with her to help her build a CV and prepare for interviews, as well as giving her some guidance regarding functional skills English and maths (which she has now passed at Level 2).  “She has been willing to build on her skills and develop herself and has taken any guidance she's been given enthusiastically and seriously, which has helped her to successfully complete her traineeship at Aico, firstly, and then gain a place as an apprentice there.  I think she surprised herself at how well she fit into the work environment and she clearly has already learnt a lot about working life at Aico in the various departments they have encouraged her to sample, as a trainee.

She also has a wide breadth of knowledge about a range of non-work related topics which makes her a really interesting and fun person to have a conversation with.  I feel sure she is a real asset to Aico, as she would be to any company, workforce or organisation.”


With her newfound confidence and the amazing support of Aico behind her, we are excited to see how Emily progresses through her Warehousing Apprenticeship.

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