Apprentice of the Year 2022: David Mills

Winner - David Mills, Amber Button

Apprentice of the Year is awarded to an exceptional individual who has made outstanding progress whilst on programme, inspiring those around them with their hard work, determination, and results. This year we’re delighted to announce that David Mills of Amber Button is our Apprentice of the Year 2022. Congratulations David!

David had been in steady employment up until 2014, when he became ill. By 2016, he was recovered but found himself unemployed, deciding to attend a job club at Neston Community Youth Centre, hosted by Amber Button.

Amber Button offer a range of employment courses to help support job seekers get back into work. Joining the course, David excelled and became inspired: ‘I found this course very helpful for people like myself who were unemployed and thought that one day I would like to be a tutor myself. I signed up for second course and mentioned this to the Tutor asking what the best way was to go about this.’

‘The Tutor then spoke to her manager, who asked if I would like to become a Volunteer Tutor Support Worker. I jumped at the chance. Jeanette Cook, the manager at Amber Button, has been incredible, investing in my development and putting me through the Award in Education and Training Level 3 which I passed at the end of 2018. By 2019 I was able to deliver Non-Accredited Course. In October 2019, Jeanette came and observed me delivering a course and the next day I was asked to attend a meeting at Amber Button Office. This is when Jeanette offered me a position within the company and in January 2020, I started work for Amber Button under an apprenticeship, studying Learning and Development Practitioner Level 3.’

I found the apprenticeship daunting as I had never done anything like it before, part way through the course I started to struggle, thinking I wasn’t capable and felt like I wanted to quit but both John (my tutor) and Jeanette encouraged me to continue. I started to break down the tasks into manageable chunks and although very nervous, I felt okay about my professional discussion…. 10 days later I got the results… I’d passed! I was so proud of myself and am still smiling about this achievement today!’

His manager Jeanette couldn’t agree more: ‘Dave’s commitment and enthusiasm to his work has had such a positive impact on his colleagues and he is a joy to work with. I recently received an email from one of our partner organisations that said ‘I know you already know this, but I just wanted to feedback how FANTASTIC Dave is! He is a total natural. The pandemic changed the very fabric of our organisation and Dave has been an incredible support throughout.’

‘I have seen him grow both personally and professionally and he is much more confident in his own abilities. He is now contributing to planning and developing courses and I have recently promoted him to Office Supervisor.’

David’s Tutor, John Felton, too has seen how far David has come whilst on programme: 'David was stepping well outside his comfort zone in completing this programme, but he tackled everything head on. The Learning and Development programmes are quite academic and require the learner to do in depth research. It’s fair to say the course was stretching at times. However, despite a few crises of confidence, he always picked himself up. I am deeply impressed by his courage and determination and infectious enthusiasm.’

David’s story highlights how your attitude can determine your aptitude and he’s got a bright future ahead of him.

Congratulations David!