At 19 years old, Kiarah Laurence has already become a force to reckon with, scaling the ladder to a successful career thanks to her dedication to her apprenticeship with Mears, working in partnership with Tower Hamlets Council.
As her studies at college came to an end, Kiarah wanted to find an opportunity that helped her earn while she learnt. So, when such an opportunity came up at Mears, she decided to take it.
Kiarah has been a Mears apprentice since 2019 and initially worked in several departments, learning different aspects of the business, finally finding her calling in customer care.
Kiarah said, “It was difficult finding my feet at first, but my branch was very welcoming and supportive. There was so much to learn, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The branch also had a rotation scheme which massively helped with my confidence.”
Kiarah finally found her feet and came into her role. She created a strong bond with her team so much so that even the client forgot that she was still an apprentice.
Kiarah faced the challenges brought on by the pandemic head-on and proved to be an invaluable asset to her team. She helped maintain the services of the team through the initial lockdown keeping on top of complaints and served as the first point of contact for customers.
She even declined the offer of furlough to ensure that the branch’s needs were met. Kiarah maintained a cheerful outlook on work and even though she has lost out on vital training due to lockdown, she has been very involved in helping new recruits in the team.
“I knew my team needed me and it was all-hands-on-deck. I wanted to do my bit to help my colleagues and our customers. This pandemic has affected us all and what it really comes down to is how we overcome our challenges.
“We have a great team at Mears in Tower Hamlets, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work my way up through the company and take part in some really exciting projects.”
Mears prides on having a social heart and Kiarah is a champion of this ethos.
During Christmas, Kiarah planned and oversaw a ‘coat drive’ to collect coats donated by our colleagues which were then distributed among the homeless through the Christmas period in the local soup kitchens.
Apprenticeships are an integral part of Mears’ philosophy and many senior figures within the business today started as apprentices themselves.
Kiarah’s apprenticeship has now come to an end and she has since secured her role as a Customer Insight advisor at Mears.
When asked about Kiarah, her Manager, Masooma Ahmed, said: “Kiarah is such an incredible person; she always has a smile and comes to work every day with such a positive attitude. She is eager to learn and treats everyone with compassion and respect.
“She’s never afraid to ask for extra guidance and is always willing to help others out. Kiarah really is a credit to herself and our team because you know that she will always give her best and expect the same from others.
“I know that Kiarah has a bright and successful career ahead of her.”
Kiarah’s story is a shining example of creating chances, and the reason why Mears invests in its apprenticeship programmes. Apprentices, like Kiarah, can earn while they learn, and after completing all the requirements of their schemes, can look forward to being offered full-time positions with the company.
“It’s great to know I have a future with Mears. In these challenging times, having a sense of job security and a path to success isn’t something that should be taken for granted. For anyone looking to start an apprenticeship, I would tell them to get out there, find the opportunities– and grab it when you do.
“Time doesn’t wait for anyone and apprenticeships are a great way to garner experience. It’s best to be older with something you can look back, use and be proud of.”