Mum knows best as Gateshead teen earns Access to new career opportunity

An ambitious young woman from Gateshead is following in her family’s footsteps after securing an apprenticeship with Access Training – a career path her mum embarked upon with the very same provider three decades ago.

Olivia Davies, aged 16 from Birtley, was screened by Access Training for a position among its clients who were looking for keen trainees. However, she was so impressive, Access snapped up Olivia as part of its own team, with the job of supporting other apprentice-seekers in the region.

Julia Oxley-Davies urged daughter Olivia to head to Access, after successfully completing a business admin apprenticeship with them 30 years ago and progressing on to enjoy a successful career in recruitment. Julia contacted Access Training’s MD Malcolm Armstrong and an interview was quickly set up.

Valerie Green, Business Development & Marketing Manager at Access Training, explains: “I met Olivia for an initial interview with a view to forwarding her CV to our employers. But I recognised that she would be an excellent fit for us, so we offered her an apprentice role within our business development and marketing team, and she’s already doing a fantastic job. Her bubbly personality is ideal for liaising with learners and employers.”

Olivia, who attended Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy, joined Access in July and is currently working towards a level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship. Her role includes screening applications, matching candidates to vacancies and arranging interviews with employers.

She said: “I always wanted to go straight into the world of work. Staying on at school didn’t interest me. A key responsibility I have is communicating with candidates, which I love because I consider myself a people person, but also because I’ve been in their shoes.

“When I was thinking about what to do when I finished my GCSEs, my mum suggested going to Access Training because it set her on her career path, and I already know it was the right decision for me. I’ve learnt so much already, using new software and applications, and I’m acquiring new skills every single day.”

Leading Olivia through her apprenticeship is trainer Kate Veitch, who was herself an apprentice at Access, joining the company over six years ago. She completed two apprenticeships and then progressed into a training role with the company and is now delivering apprenticeships in business admin, customer service, digital marketing and social media.

Malcolm Armstrong, Managing Director at Access Training, concludes: “Kate is a great example of how we value our team members and support career progression at Access. Olivia is also doing really well. She has loads of potential and I’m sure she will also have a successful career with the company. We have a long, proud record of helping thousands of young people to start careers in the region. I remember Olivia’s mum Julia very well, she was a bit of a star and carved out a successful career for herself. It’s great that we are now able to help her daughter too.

“Our aim is to show young people that an apprenticeship is a sound choice that can help them realise their professional goals. After a few years apprentices can be earning potentially more than their peers, without being saddled by debt of further and higher education.

“With the apprenticeship levy now in force to help the government achieve its target of creating three million apprentices by 2020, there’s no better time for companies to look at how apprenticeships could support their business growth aspirations.”

As well as apprenticeships in business admin and social media, Access Training offers programmes in accounting, customer service, manufacturing, warehousing and IT. The company is also the only regional provider of the fire, emergency and security systems apprenticeship.