Apprentice awards run in the family

Catherine Wahlberg from Alsters Kelley LLP, Tehya and Paul Kirby

A father and daughter from Leamington have won apprenticeship awards at college ceremonies 34 years apart.

Tehya-Leonie Kirby won the Outstanding Apprentice Award: Service Industries at WCG’s recent Apprenticeship Graduation, following in the footsteps of her father, Paul, who won the 1983 award for Best Motor Vehicle Apprentice at Mid-Warwickshire College of Further Education, now Royal Leamington Spa College, part of WCG.

Tehya, 19, was the first apprentice at Alsters Kelley LLP, completing her Level 2 Business Administration apprenticeship earlier this year and securing a role as a Conveyancing Assistant with the solicitors firm.

She attended the WCG Apprenticeship Graduation ceremony at The Old Shire Hall, Warwick, which recognises and rewards those who have completed their apprenticeships and was chosen as the winner of the Outstanding Apprentice Award: Service Industries. Tehya said, “I didn’t know my dad was an award-winning apprentice until I won on the night! It’s really nice that we’re an award-winning family.”

After leaving school, Tehya worked for 18 months and spent that time thinking about what she wanted to do in the future. “I eventually came to the decision to pursue law as a career so I started looking for jobs and the apprenticeship seemed the ideal way to get my foot in the door and work my way up. I love working in the law firm and my ambition now is to be a qualified solicitor so I’m just starting a distance-learning degree with the Open University. I wouldn’t have believed when I started my apprenticeship that I’d be doing this.”

Paul went into his Motor Vehicle Apprenticeship with Gray’s Garage in Leamington straight from school. After completing his apprenticeship he ran his own business before moving on to do a HND and degree in mechanical engineering. He then worked as a design engineer and management consultant before going back to his roots and running his own garage business - Lambsdons Motor Services.

Paul said, “The apprenticeship gave me a really good basis and place to start from - as well as the practical skills - the initial training gave me those transferable skills you need as well. Tehya has gone through apprenticeship process and I’ve seen her study very hard for it and seen the benefits she’s got out of it - not just the qualification but also confidence and working with clients. No matter what apprenticeship you do, the structured work-based learning is really very valuable - and now she’s going onto higher education the same as I did so we’re all very proud of her.”

Paul is also continuing his support in apprenticeships by employing a Motor Vehicle apprentice, Jake Woodward in his business. Jake trains at Warwick Trident College, part of WCG, one day a week. Paul said, “The apprenticeship is of course very different to when I did it - technology in cars has moved on massively - but what I find pleasing with Jake is that doing the apprenticeship has really given him a lot of confidence - he’s grown in stature and his way of thinking has developed.

“Finding the right staff can be difficult, so the apprenticeship route of ‘growing your own’ workforce is a really good way of addressing that challenge.”

Operations & Finance Member at Alsters Kelley LLP, Catherine Wahlberg said, “From a business perspective going down the apprentice route was a new experience for us but has been very rewarding. From day one Tehya has shown consistent commitment to learning and a willingness to take on responsibilities as her role has progressed within the Property team. She is a real asset to her department and the wider firm and thoroughly deserves the Outstanding Apprentice award and we are very proud of her.”