Teresa-stewart_-bodylinking-apprentice_-johnstons-of-elgin_-copyright-derek-lunn_-2013-_3__bannerTeresa Stewart, Fashion and Textiles apprentice, Johnstons of Elgin

Teresa Stewart

Job title:
Apprentice Collar Linker
Industries:
Fashion and Textiles

Teresa Stewart had a temporary job in the stockroom of Johnstons of Elgin when she was 18. At 23, she has now returned, this time in a permanent role. Teresa says:

"I actually started through a Jobseekers scheme as I was unemployed. The mills were taking people on for 10 weeks of work. I went into accessories and found it really interesting and then I was told that Johnstons was looking for apprentices for permanent jobs so I applied straight away and got a place.

"I liked the bodylinking department, where you join the front, back and sleeves of a garment... you begin working on waste material and just keep practising until you get the hang of it."

Teresa's manager Jane Dawson says:

"Honestly, I don't know if I've ever met anyone like Teresa in the 11 years I've been here. She's a really fast learner and is constantly pushing herself to do better - she's gained a fantastic reputation here. If there are bottlenecks elsewhere in the factory managers ask to borrow her, train her in their particular area and she gets the job done.

"She's a total enigma to me and has an amazing ability, not just to learn a new skill but to learn it well and constantly improve on it. I can see her doing great things here."

I think it's good for young people to get opportunities like this, where we learn new things and are encouraged and promoted

Teresa has similar ambitions for promotion but for the moment her concentration is on developing her current skills to match the level of the rest of the team, some of whom have been working in the factory for decades.

"They're always really helpful if I get stuck and my trainer Lyndsay is always there to teach me new styles and answer any questions I have. I like the feeling that I'm always learning... it's good to be encouraged to try out so many different skills. I knew I would enjoy being an apprentice here but I don't think I realised at the beginning that I would be learning a trade for life and that's something I really like.

"I think it's good for young people to get opportunities like this, where we learn new things and are encouraged and promoted. It gives you a real sense of achievement and constantly learning new things keeps the work fresh and interesting and no matter how good you get, you always know someone who's been in the job for years and has fantastic speeds, so you try to live up to that."