When it comes to guiding and supporting our learners, Haddon Training knows the importance of having excellent, experienced and qualified staff.  We truly value our team and know that our learners and employers feel the same way.

Recently one of our former learners, Melinda Tilley, successfully started her own business and she got in touch to let us know how much the teaching and learning she received from our amazing Trainer-Coach, Natasha Joyce, had meant to her.  She has kindly agreed for us to share her story.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a forty-nine-year-old married mum of two teenagers. I left school and went on to college to do a BTEC in Business and Finance. From there I joined my family printing business and spent the next ten years working really hard covering all aspects of running a business.

Until doing my Apprenticeship I hadn’t really undertaken any formal training for many years, so it was a bit unusual for me. I did many training courses during my time as a Parent Governor but it’s quite different when you are attending training in a voluntary role capacity.


Can you tell us a little bit about the apprenticeship you took with us?

I achieved the Level 3 Team Leader Apprenticeship with Haddon Training, whilst working at a riding centre. I started it at the end of June 2018 and it took just over a year to complete.


What topics did Natasha teach you during the apprenticeship?

The subjects were quite in-depth covering Leading People, Managing People, Building Relationships, Communication, Operational Management, Project Management, Self-Awareness, Management of Self and Decision Making. I also had to do my Level 2 maths and English as I lost my school certificates. That was scary but I accomplished it!


How did Natasha’s teaching impact you?

Natasha is an incredibly effective teacher in my opinion. She strikes the perfect balance between strong encouragement and knowing when something perhaps needs a bit more timeShe taught me nothing is impossible to achieve with the right planning, monitoring and time. I think that has had the biggest impact on me.  When it started to dawn on me how comprehensive this apprenticeship was, it would have been easy to become overwhelmed; Natasha never let that happen.


What are the main lessons you learnt that you have carried with you?

The main lessons I have carried with me are to regularly re-assess yourself. Self-awareness is really important in any effective team be it personal or business and using the GROW model and the SWOT analysis really helps me to maintain purposeful direction. Perseverance is also a strong lesson that Natasha taught me; there were a few times I just needed to progress with bite-size steps instead of a whole project and I have found that especially useful to keep in mind.

Little things too have stayed with me; such as always write numbers in words not digits in my writing and always read back anything you write before you send it!


What are you up to now and how did your apprenticeship help?

My current work role reduced last year, and I often thought over the years about trying to do a bit of freelance work. I love meeting new people and learning about different businesses and how they function. I think I miss that from running a printing business where we were often the first port of call for any new business venture. The variety of clients was amazing.

I applied what I had learnt in the Project Management and Decision Making modules in my apprenticeship which really helped me think through my ideas in a formal, structured way rather than just having ideas floating around in my head with no direction. From the planning stages, I decided it would be worth giving it a go and seeing where it leads.  I have since set up MJT Business Support Services and am excited to see where it leads!


We would like to thank Melinda for taking the time to share her story and also thank Natasha for her continued work to make every learner’s journey one that stays with them long after their apprenticeships are complete.

If you would like to know more about Melinda’s new business, please contact her at: melindajanetilley@gmail.com