Following on with our apprentice theme, we’d like to introduce you to Mandy Eyre, who has just completed her City & Guilds Level 1 Diploma in Plastering, over to you Mandy…….
Hi, I’m Mandy, I’m 37 years old and a single mum to two lovely boys. I’ve always worked, since the age of 16, in many different jobs and was a senior care assistant for 10 years. I lost my mum in 2001, which I took really hard and unfortunately that led to me suffering with depression. I ended up taking anti-depressants to help me through. Then my dad died in 2010. The turnaround for me came when my youngest son was born in 2014. I realised I wanted a better life for my family but found it so hard to get out there because the tablets I was taking caused me to suffer badly from social anxiety.
In May 2016 I finally took the plunge and stopped taking the anti-depressants I had been reliant on for so long. I decided I needed to run my own business so I could work around my two boys – I knew it wouldn’t be easy, especially with no family support to help with childcare. That’s when I realised going to college could be the answer….I couldn’t go back into social care as the hours were unstable and shift patterns were constantly changing…..I did think about painting and decorating but I could already do that so then I thought about plastering. I managed to get an interview at my local college and was successful at getting on the course.
I started in September 2016 – my course ran over three days a week, based in college. I found it really daunting as being in a place full of people was pushing me outside of my comfort zone, with all my anxiety about being in social situations, but I pushed myself on and slowly, month by month I got better within myself and found my confidence growing. The support of an amazing tutor and the group of guys I was learning alongside really helped me discover a love for what I was doing. I passed all my assessments with merits and distinctions, as well as passing all my written exams too. I’ve now left college with a new sense of confidence and am eagerly awaiting the start of level 2 in September.
I’m now working on getting my experience up, I have a few friends who need plastering work doing re-skimming walls, so that should keep me busy. I’m slowly increasing my tool kit too, it’s a slow process but I’m determined to get there.
Ultimately I would love to have my own business, employing a few other people – maybe I’ll even complete other trade courses, so I can offer an all round service, who knows…..
Judging by the grit and determination Mandy has shown to get this far, we at BTG think she’s one to watch, well done Mandy!