Teenager joins dad at Burntwood steel specialist

Nov 9, 2023 | News

Nick and Mia Liggins
School leaver Mia Liggins has become an apprentice in finance at the Midlands steel specialist where her dad works, with the help of Performance Through People.

Mia has just started her Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant apprenticeship with Steel Processing (Midlands). The programme is accredited by the Association of Accounting Technicians.

The 18-year-old from Aldridge made the decision to start earning a wage at the same time as continuing her learning when she was due to leave school this summer.

Her dad Nick Liggins is commercial director of Steel Processing (Midlands), a privately-owned steel service centre occupying a 50,000 sq ft warehouse in Burntwood.

He explained that the company had long been committed to apprenticeships with the assistance of PTP, and that he was delighted to see Mia starting her new role.

Set standards

Mr Liggins said: “There are always some reservations about taking on relatives as there is probably more pressure for family members to live up to the standards we set for other employees.

“That said, we are fundamentally a family business and I came into the firm when my father was a director/owner.

“Also, Kevin Haynes – our managing director and owner – currently has his son and daughter in the business which has worked well, so there is no reason why Mia should be any different.

“Ultimately, there was a vacancy arising, the timing was right for her and I trust she will show the desire and appetite to learn the role and become an asset to our business.

“Apprenticeships are a great way to learn in the classroom with the back-up of real-life situations in the workplace, applying learning to practical situations to build your knowledge.”

Mr Liggins added: “I’m more than happy that Mia has decided on this route, as the transition from apprentice to fully-fledged employee should be much easier as she progresses in her career.”

Strong relationships

Steel Processing (Midlands) employs around 45 people and has been working with Walsall-based PTP for more than 20 years to recruit and train its staff.

It supplies around 100,000 tonnes per annum to many market sectors and has built strong relationships with its customers over the last 30 years.

The company has invested around £5 million over the last few years in specialist technology that enables it to offer a one-stop-shop for many of its customers.

Gill Durkin, business executive at PTP, said: “We have worked with Nick and the team for many years, and Nick supported our original Ladder for Staffordshire campaign back in 2016.

“Steel Processing has always punched above their weight and is a great place for apprentices to start and then develop their careers.”

Other former apprentices include Georgia Edwards, aged 23, from Burntwood, who started with the company in 2019 and studied Business Administration Level 2, finishing this in 2020.

Another worker who came through an apprenticeship scheme is Nathan Hitchcock, who has accompanied Mr Liggins to St James’s Palace in London to meet royalty.

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