Apprenticeship lifts Stacey to new heights

Stacey Defty recently completed a Level 2 Customer Services apprenticeship in an initiative which saw her gain a work placement at Enchanted Forest Softplay Activity Centre in Ponteland.

During the 12-month programme, the 18-year-old acquired new skills and attributes which have helped her gain a swift promotion to a senior position within the company.

Stacey, from Ponteland, started life at Enchanted Forest as a customer services representative but has now been appointed team leader. She has been given direct line management responsibilities and is currently playing a lead role in a major rebranding exercise at the company.

She said: “I’m thrilled to have gained this promotion so quickly and I don’t think I would have done it without the training I’ve had. Apprenticeships are well worth considering at a time when so many young people are out of work.

As part of her course Stacey was taught a range of useful customer service skills through role plays, practical workshops and constructive one-to-one feedback from Enchanted Forest and Gateshead College. These exercises also helped her to hone essential life skills such as team-working, problem-solving and effective communication.

Stacey’s assessor at the college, Suzanne McKechnie, is a firm advocate of vocational training having completed a travel and tourism apprenticeship at the college before taking on her current role.

Suzanne said: “Apprenticeships have certainly been a positive influence on my career and it’s rewarding to help people like Stacey achieve their aspirations through the same route.

“At Gateshead College we deliver a wide range of vocational training that gives people the qualifications and skills required by employers.”

Lisa Scott, manager at Enchanted Forest, said: “We wholeheartedly support apprenticeships, which are a great way for employers to retain skills and talent within their business. Stacey has added genuine value to the business and her creativity and problem-solving skills have been a real asset to us.”

According to a recent study by research firm ICM, 54% of young people in England would choose to do an apprenticeship if the opportunity arose. Gateshead College has been working with employers to increase the range of apprenticeship options open to students and people already in employment.

Earlier this year, the college teamed up with Nexus to create 30 new rail apprentice posts as part of the transport operator’s new advanced engineering apprenticeship programme. During the next three years, the apprentices will gain the skills to become part of Nexus’ maintenance and technical teams which maintain and modernise the Tyne & Wear Metro network.

For further information on Gateshead College courses, visit or call 0191 490 2246.