Success Story

‘I can’t believe how much my life has changed!’

After realising that sixth form or college wasn’t the right route, Shauna O’Byrne was referred to Skills Training UK by her local Jobcentre Plus in Ealing – and has never looked back.

The 24-year-old achieved Traineeship success, gaining qualifications in Business Administration and Customer Services, which led to an exciting apprenticeship offer with GRAHAM Construction.

“I can’t believe how much my life has changed and how much I’ve achieved and progressed,” Shauna said.

“During my Traineeship, the support I received from the Skills Training UK tutors was excellent and they were there whenever I needed them. I could tell they really care about their work and all their learners.”

When she joined our Ealing Centre, ambitious Shauna decided to enrol on two qualifications as part of her Traineeship: Level 2 Business Admin and Level 2 Customer Service.

She gained a full understanding of top skills demanded by employers, including organisation, communication and flexibility as well as a firm grasp of a variety of computer software.

Shauna said: “One skill I learnt from my traineeship which I’ve taken forward onto my apprenticeship was how to plan and manage a project efficiently, which I learnt when completing one of the workbooks set during my course.”

The West London youngster was able to develop and put her new skills to the test during a 100-hour work placement with Furnish, a charity furniture shop in Fulham.

Shauna said: “My work placement with Furnish gave me the opportunity to develop my skillset in customer service, including through communication and problem solving. It was a great experience which has helped me move forward in my career.”

Following the completion of her Traineeship, Shauna was put forward along with four other candidates for an apprenticeship with GRAHAM Construction, a national construction company providing civil engineering, construction, facilities management and a fit-out service.

I’ve just completed my first unit which was a nice refresher from my Level 2 course. My tutor has been really supportive and encouraging and is really pushing me to go for the distinction to get the highest grade I can achieve.

Shauna O’Byrne - Business Administration: Level 2 Traineeship and Level 3 Apprenticeship

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“As I started during the height of the pandemic, there weren’t as many people in the office so it helped to ease me in without feeling too overwhelmed meeting lots of people all at once.”

Shauna’s role at GRAHAM Construction has already helped her gain confidence and is very varied with lots of different tasks to complete, including document control, printing drawings for her line manager, ordering stationery and inputting data from the daily Covid checks which take place when a member of staff arrives on site.

Shauna added: “Everyone has been so welcoming since I joined the company. I’ve settled in really quickly and I get on well with everyone here. I feel like I’ve already become more confident in my role. In previous roles I’ve found it hard to be authoritative with older colleagues but I don’t feel like there is an age gap with anyone here, everyone is equal.

“I really hope to have a future with GRAHAM Construction and continue to my progress with my career.”

Sandra Saxton, Social Impact Business Partner at GRAHAM Construction, said: “Shauna has hit the ground running and is just brilliant and so organised. Working in construction isn’t always easy as it’s a high-pressured environment, but she just gets it! She gets on well with everyone in the team and she produces excellent work.

“We hired Shauna with a plan for the future and with a bit more confidence, I think we could progress her well in this company. I definitely see a future for her here.”

She’s great at problem solving, particularly on some difficult projects we have worked on recently but she pulls together with the rest of the team to get the work completed – she’s a star!

Sandra Saxton - Social Impact Business Partner at GRAHAM Construction

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