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Stacy makes Swatpro Academy’s business offer a cut above

When it comes to helping her Apprenticeship learners achieve their dreams, Stacy Harrall-Phillips has an advantage.

“I went through the same process that they are going through. I started my career as an apprentice and can empathise with their journey,” she explains.

Stacy joined Swatpro Academy this summer as Business Skills Tutor/Assessor and is already guiding 10 learners through various business and customer service apprenticeships. Stacy has an impressive results record with 5 straight distinctions for her first 5 Apprenticeship Standards learners.

Swatpro Academy currently tutors 4 different business apprenticeships: Level 3 Business Administrator; Level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor; Level 2 Customer Service Practitioner; and Level 3 Customer Service Specialist.

Learning as they work, Stacy teaches business and leadership skills to people from a variety of different backgrounds and at different employers.

“We have estate agents, receptionists, HR workers, unit administrators… a gamut of different job titles.

“The skills are universally applicable though, and the key thing for us at Swatpro Academy is to tailor the way the apprenticeship is taught, to match the needs of the learner and those of the employer.

“It’s a three-way process. Each apprenticeship journey is bespoke,” she notes.

Stacy’s route to training was via hairdressing. After her apprenticeship at a top Plymouth salon, she enjoyed a meteoric career which saw her running two salons by the age of 20, opening a new salon at one of the South-West’s most prestigious golf resorts, and being taken on by a major training provider in the industry. Her brief ran further than hair and beauty however, and soon Stacy was working in recruitment and internal quality assurance (IQA) for the same agency, taking training qualifications along the way and developing a passion for life-long learning.

“I love passing on knowledge – and I love acquiring it myself,” she says.

“I plan to continue taking qualifications that will help me with my job – as well as pursuing my interest in human psychology. I love reading about what makes people tick.”

Perhaps it’s this interest in people that gives Stacy such an abiding interest in the apprentices she mentors. “Learners need to trust their tutor. They need to know we have their interests at heart. Sometimes this means listening to and helping them with problems they might have at work – or home.

“Whatever way I can help them achieve their goals, I will. I even like to be there to cheer at the end, when they are undergoing their End Point Assessments,” she adds. Covid-19 has meant fewer hours on the road for Stacy, but more time on the laptop and phone connecting to students remotely.

“Maintaining that regular contact is absolutely key. And employers as well as apprentices need to know that I’m always reachable when there is a query or problem. The pandemic hasn’t changed that,” she stresses. Stacy notes that the demand for people trained in business skills remains high and she’s been delighted to find that employers recognise the competitive advantage that having such staff gives them.

“These are valuable skills: organisational, technological, legal and leadership knowledge. The Standards were developed by and road-tested by employers and they really like hiring people with these apprenticeships under their belt,” she emphasises.

“The flexible approach possible in an 18-month apprenticeship, suits employers. Learners are not tied to term dates and exam times.

“Also, for people who didn’t enjoy the purely academic approach of school and college, an apprenticeship gives vocational skills they can appreciate – they realise their own potential,” she adds.

So, does Stacy have any other explanation for her success with her learners? “I try to keep it fun. People think business skills must be a yawn, but it needn’t be. Life should be fun and so should learning!” she laughs.
Stacy makes Swatpro Academy’s business offer a cut above