My name is Lorna Hadley and I’m 18 years old. I’m Sheffield born and bred with a great story to tell. I had a very happy and memorable up-bringing. My parents always gave me every opportunity to grow and achieve and they did everything they could to ensure I had a positive future. I also have identical twin brothers, whom were born only 18 months after I was, which meant we were super close growing up. I graduated from Ecclesfield Comprehensive School in May 2015, with 8 GCSE’s. I achieved GCSE grades at a B in Media Studies and ICT, and a GCSE grade C in Business Studies. These were always my favourite subjects. I knew from a young age that I wanted to drop the idea of university and pursue a career in an industry where I could help and benefit others in some way whilst demonstrating my skills in, and my passion for, for the media, the world of Business and ICT.
My career journey started just 5 weeks after I’d graduated from secondary school. I secured my very first apprenticeship at 16 as a Recruitment Resourcer with a local Sheffield recruitment agency. We dealt mainly with call centre and warehouse based recruitment. This role was riveting for me as I directly helping people into work and bettering people’s quality of life which made the job that much more rewarding. It was a struggle sometimes; it was like pulling teeth trying to recruit to these particular jobs as not many people wanted to do it! Despite the challenge, I always put in 100% and made lots of new connections whilst doing so.
This is where I started my NVQ Level 2 Business Administration qualification in 2015. As I progressed within my role, it became apparent that this role just wasn’t what I expected it to be. Around 8 months in I started to feel that I wasn’t getting the support I needed and I started to fall behind on my qualification.
At around 9 months in, I was sadly displaced without much warning as my employer could no longer maintain my position in the organisation. For me, this meant I had partially completed my qualification but I wasn’t able to complete it which really made me feel like all my efforts had gone to waste and I was very discouraged.
From here, my options at this point were to join a college in the next term, or search for another job. I was NEET (Not in Education or Employment) for around 15 weeks before I was approached by a lady named Fiona, who worked for a local employment group. Fiona told me about a Business Administration apprenticeship vacancy that was available with a company in South Yorkshire called Efficiency North. This was definitely something I was interested in as it meant I could finally continue with my Level 2 Business Administration qualification that I’d started the year before. I applied for the role immediately and was offered an interview by EN’s Social Value Manager, Paul Mitchell.
My interview went really well and on 20th June 2016 I started the Business Administration apprenticeship with Efficiency North. I was assigned to my new assessor within 4 weeks who was going to support me alongside Efficiency North in ensuring I completed my Level 2 Business Administration Qualification.
My role within Efficiency North was Social Value Administrator which consisted of supporting Paul Mitchell, and his colleague Caroline who at the time was Social Value Co-Ordinator, in the delivery of skills and employment with the help and engagement from local employment groups. Funnily enough, this was how I managed to attain my role so I was eager to help other potentially NEET individuals like I was, into employment and onto better things!
During this, I also occasionally helped in co-ordinating and planning the events set up by the Social Value team which I learned was something I enjoyed being a part of. I got to co-manage the setup of the CIF (Community Investment Fund) guidance sessions which consisted of deciding upon and securing venue locations and doing the promotions and advertising for the CIF. I truly enjoyed this element of the role and I quickly found out I had natural skills in promoting events and ideas, as well as coming up with my own ideas that worked well. I was also responsible for creating the flyers to advertise the job opportunities we had available through the Frameworks which I also loved doing.
I found within my first year at Efficiency North that my confidence was so much better and I had discovered that I particularly enjoyed the tasks that involved me promoting, advertising general speaking to and helping those in need. I’d always had a passion for Media and ICT and I really appreciated being able to present my skills and capabilities by helping with the event management, the networking and research. This gave me a clear idea of what I wanted to do once I’d completed my Business Administration Qualification. I thoroughly enjoyed learning all of the administration skills from this role and I had the full support I needed the entire way through.
I was incredibly proud of myself for pursuing this and not giving up like I thought I should have done when I was first displaced. My level of determination and perseverance meant that I was finally able to complete my Level 2 Business Admin Qualification in September 2017.
Once I had finished my Level 2 Qualification, I had a big decision to make. What to do next? I knew. I knew about part way through my time within the Social Value Team exactly what my next steps should be so that I could continue to grow and learn. My newly acquired passion for the marketing, communications and promotion, along with helping others to achieve lead me to the decision I made next.
In October 2017, I began my Level 3 diploma in Marketing and the Principles of Marketing. This was formally agreed with our Marketing and Communications Manager; Liz Butcher and I was transitioned across to begin the next chapter in my journey. I am super happy that I was given the opportunity here at Efficiency North and I continue to see the difference it is making to my confidence, my skills and to me as a person. In little under 2 years, I went from being displaced, discouraged and helpless with little aspects, to being successfully completed in my level 2 qualification and now on with my level 3 in Marketing.
Many people in my position 2 years ago would have probably given up, or chosen to abandon the qualification because they’d lost hope, but I kept going and I believed in myself and it’s landed me exactly where I always hoped I would be. I have so many more exciting prospects to look forward to and I’m very excited for my future endeavours here at Efficiency North.