Susan Westmoreland – parent of Amber Westmoreland (EY)
When we found out that Amber had been shortlisted for the 2016 TARGETJobs Awards, her mum Susan was keen to share with us her experience of supporting Amber towards this great recognition of her work so far.
Tell us a bit about yourself…did you go to University?
I am the mother of two lovely daughters; Amber is my eldest and her younger sister is Ruby. My career pathway is in education. Throughout my high school years I developed a love of sport and knew I wanted to teach due to the positive influence of my PE teacher. Following a traditional route, I did my A levels and went on to train as a teacher and soon became a Headteacher.
I studied for my MA degree in Education and now work at a University as a lecturer in teacher training and other related educational consultancy.
How did you first hear about the programme and what did you think of it?
Amber had developed a real ability in mathematics at High School and she sought advice to follow her interest as a career. Amber did a lot of research and became keen to pursue a career in accountancy. She considered going to University to do a degree and then became aware of the EY Apprenticeship programmes and considered both the school leaver programme and the graduate programme.
With my background heavily grounded in education I was keen for her to do a degree as she had achieved high grades in her ‘A’ levels and I felt that a degree was the right for her. However, Amber is a very bright and independent young lady; I was impressed by her commitment and drive to do it her way! She had thoroughly researched the EY School Leaver programme and convinced us that it was the right pathway for her as it combined gaining qualifications alongside employment.
Amber explained the EY assessment and training programme and her preference to follow the school leaver programme. This was mainly because she had previous experience of working whilst doing her ‘A’ levels and so she was keen to study for her qualifications and examinations whilst earning a wage. I know that when Amber is motivated by something she will be totally committed to it and I accepted that it should be her choice. I must admit that at that stage, I still had reservations that not having a degree may impact on her career development but was reassured that if Amber wants to study for a degree in the future then, this remains an option.
How have you found the programme now that Amber has started?
My reservations have reduced as Amber is doing so well at EY! She is a very mature, friendly and professional young lady who is highly organised and has always enjoyed a challenge. Amber has been given a lot of responsibility for managing projects and I have been impressed with her ongoing enthusiasm for the projects she is involved in and how well her managers at EY value her input and scaffold her learning as an Assistant Tax Adviser. The work is demanding but she has the drive and commitment to meeting deadlines and responds well to the responsibility. As a result, she has been rewarded with several ‘impact’ awards. Amber also enjoys studying for the qualifications and has so far managed to gain high grades alongside her work. I am so proud of her!
Would you recommend the programme to other parents? Why?
Yes, indeed. Amber’s successful progress has shown that this has been the correct pathway for her. I am impressed with the EY School Leaver programme as it synthesises theory and practice so well. It simply enables trainees to study for their qualifications alongside the opportunity to have responsibilities and experience real ‘live’ projects, dealing with clients on daily basis. I would definitely recommend that parents consider this with their son or daughter as they will gain qualifications, experience, skills and also knowledge that business is much more complicated and exciting than they may think, but at the same time, fortunately, learn to solve the challenges with the help of the supportive and experienced EY managers.
How do you feel about Amber’s award for Apprentice of the Year?
Absolutely thrilled... it was such a surprise!
The whole Awards evening was a very special occasion but when I heard Amber's name being announced as 'Apprentice of the Year'and saw her heading towards the stage to receive her award, it was truly wonderful!
I am so proud of Amber and we would like to thank everyone at EY for being so supportive.