Summer Wollen – Apprentice Success Story
Northleach, 22nd November 2023
Read how Summer Wollen, our Finance Apprentice, seized her opportunity at Wildstone, gaining valuable early work experience that set her on a path of growth and success.

Before joining Wildstone in 2023, Summer faced the choice between enrolling in university, burdened by the prospect of accumulating debt, or seeking out an apprenticeship.

She reflects,

" The idea of university and the associated debt scared me, so I attended an open day at my college, where they discussed various options, including apprenticeships. It was there that I realized this was the path I wanted to take. The prospect of gaining practical, on-the-job training while simultaneously learning and earning greatly appealed to me."

Wildstone is dedicated to fostering employee growth and empowering young individuals to gain invaluable experience and knowledge, enabling them to advance in their careers. We carefully selected the best apprenticeship provider to suit Summer's needs.

Summer found a welcoming company at Wildstone that recognised her potential, regardless of her age, and provided her with a platform to shine. She says,

“My experience at Wildstone has been fantastic. I seamlessly integrated into the team, and there was always someone there to support me. The company's flexibility grants me independence, avoiding micromanagement. From day one at Wildstone, I felt welcomed and part of the team, not just in my department but across the entire company. This motivates me to give my best and contribute to the team. I initially worried about joining a large company at my age, fearing I might be underestimated or not given a chance. However, I was proven wrong, even during the interviews; they cared about my skills and what I could bring to the team, not my age. That's what I find amazing about this company.”

At Wildstone, we prioritize providing young people with the opportunity to learn and grow without the pressure of knowing everything. Summer's manager created a skills matrix to help her track her progress, supporting her in her training.

We aim to upskill our young talents as quickly as possible, as evident from Summer's first few weeks. She shares,

“From the beginning, I learned to categorize mail, input invoices into Sage, allocate invoices, create payment summaries, and post payments to the bank. I've learned an incredible amount, and I'm grateful for my manager's continuous support.”

Summer's manager, Laura Colville, Transaction Manager at Wildstone, says,

“Summer is Wildstone's first apprentice. She has settled in perfectly and has already become an asset to the company. She is learning and regularly practicing a particular skill set in a real-life setting with the rest of the team. Summer works very hard, and being a mentor to her is a really enjoyable part of my role as well. Helping her understand her role in the organization and developing her career path has been extremely fulfilling because she is so driven and committed."

Jennifer Smith, Wildstone CFO, adds

"We are proud to support multiple paths to development, and equally, we have been lucky to benefit from Summer's enthusiasm for learning."

Reflecting on her apprenticeship, Summer believes she made the right choice. She encourages others to consider this career path and envisions her growth. She shares,

“I believe apprenticeships are the way forward. Instead of solely reading and learning in a classroom, I'm in a physical workplace, actively performing tasks that complement my lessons. This hands-on experience makes me more qualified than a university graduate because I have practical job experience in my chosen field. Moreover, this apprenticeship equips me with the tools and resources to explore my ideal career path. I am currently pursuing my AAT and have the option to continue with CIMA or ACCA courses. Additionally, apprenticeships provide opportunities to develop essential skills such as communication, teamwork, independent work, seeking help, and welcoming feedback. These skills not only enhance my professional capabilities but also contribute to my personal growth as I adapt to workplace norms.”

Priticka Patel, Head of Human Resources at Wildstone, emphasises:

“At Wildstone we are committed to equipping young individuals with a valuable opportunity to acquire early and meaningful work experience. Recognizing the immense potential and talent that young people bring to the table, our commitment to this vision is grounded in the belief that early exposure to the professional world is instrumental in shaping their future careers and personal growth.”