We welcome Leah our 18-year-old apprentice as the newest recruit

Leah outside

Former Anthony Gell School student Leah Barratt, 18, of Crich, is studying for a business administration apprenticeship with us.

Leah said she was loving being part of a busy working environment.

“I’m more of a hands-on learner,” she said. “I wanted to be involved in a business setting. I liked the fact TDP’s furniture was 100 per cent recycled and I liked the charity work the company gets involved in.”

Community-minded TDP supports many good causes in the local area, donating benches to the town of Wirksworth, Wingfield Station – newly renovated by Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust – plus a ‘tea for two’ set to Treetops Hospice’s new Counselling and Therapy Centre, built by the BBC’s DIY SOS.

Leah and Sam at the CNC machine 3 Leah 1 Leah in the showroom

Most of Leah’s apprenticeship consists of on-the-job learning here, where she has been getting stuck into many different aspects of our busy family-run firm. She also attends Chesterfield College once a week.

Commercial director Kym Barlow said: “I think one of the benefits for us as a business is Leah’s enthusiasm, new ideas and willingness to give everything a go. She came to a talk we gave at Derby University, and she has come with us to several networking events. One of the big things for me in bringing an apprentice into the businesses is that I want Leah to get as much out of this as we are getting as a business. For me, being part of Leah’s journey, if she goes on to bigger and better things in the future, I will be happy that I’ve been part of that.”

Leah said she was getting a lot of value from being involved in so many aspects of the TDP business, including networking and marketing, while TDP are investigating other ways of doing business to cater for a younger audience: for example, payment methods that do not involve a bank card, which are increasingly being replaced by mobile phone payments by the younger generation.

Leah said: “Rob and Kym Barlow can’t involve me enough in the business. I have been going to lots of events. I feel such a part of it. When I am talking to people at networking events I’m not nervous and I can speak from a young person’s perspective. It has made me come out of my shell a lot.”

As part of TDP’s commitment to the local community, Leah and Kym both volunteer on Fridays at “Tea, Talk and Tech”, a weekly digital café in Wirksworth helping people with technology, which is run by Connex Community Support.

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