Kingswinford student Hannah Wardle is a perfect example of how youth and enthusiasm can positively affect an organisation.
In 2013 Hannah, who is now 21, began volunteering for Brierley Hill charity the Insight Group, which has since rebranded as We Love Carers. While studying at Stourbridge College, shy Hannah realised that she needed work experience to increase her knowledge beyond education and to boost her confidence.
For a year Hannah attended the carers and young people’s support charity several times a week. She conducted everything from cleaning and weeding, to helping out at children’s play schemes.
During this time staff at the charity realised that they didn’t want to lose Hannah’s enthusiasm and willingness to get things done, so they offered her a paid apprentice position at their Brierley Hill coffee shop, which Hannah eagerly accepted. Hannah now works at the café, or attends Dudley College to gain an NVQ in customer services, from Monday to Friday, and both she and the charity are thriving from this arrangement.
“I wanted to help Insight as a volunteer because I’d heard really good things about it. It was daunting at first, but over time I made friends and became more confident.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was offered the apprentice position. It’s my first paid job and it feels really good to know that they want and trust me and that I’m helping them. I love coming to work.”
Lorraine Stockton, project manager at We Love Carers, said:
“Hannah is fantastic. She’s given us 100% commitment and is utterly reliable. But beyond that, she’s got a lovely personality and is really friendly.
“At first Hannah was really shy, but she’s since come out of herself and is a fantastic asset.
“We’ve actually changed the way we run our coffee shop because of her suggestions. We used to provide a counter service, but on Hannah’s suggestion, Hannah now goes to each table to take orders and provide refreshments. This has changed the tone of the coffee shop and made it a more friendly place to be. We even have some customers who come along just to chat with Hannah. We are very lucky to have her.”