Maria started her journey at Heathrow over 20 years ago as a temporary Security Officer, and since then has progressed through various roles in the Security and Terminal Operations function. She has managed large teams as a Terminal and Security Duty Manager. Whilst in her Duty Manager role in Campus security, the then T4 Head of Security recommended the Apprenticeship programmes on offer. Maria was captivated and didn’t have any formal qualifications to provide evidence of her recent management and operational experience and wanted to do something to stretch herself.

Maria enrolled onto the Management and Leadership Level 5 Apprenticeship and was excited to see where it would take her.

During her Apprenticeship, Maria found it a challenge blocking out time to complete her assignments and, at times, fell behind; somehow, she lost motivation to continue to completion. Despite this, Maria’s “incredible” support from her assessor was what helped keep going and get her motivation levels where they should be. Maria was able to discuss her challenges with one-to-one support and even when she was at her lowest, it kept her going. Maria took all feedback on board and completed all of her outstanding assignments, as well as new ones and even managed to complete her Apprenticeship in 18 months, ahead of schedule.

Since completing her Apprenticeship, Maria has learned many new skills as well as cementing current ones, such as leadership and stakeholder engagement. This has allowed Maria to adapt her own leadership style in different situations at work and in everyday life. Not only has the Apprenticeship benefited Maria, she states how it has a positive impact on her family, admitting: “My 15-year-old now knows what hard work looks is”. Maria is forever grateful for the Heathrow Employment & Skills Academy and their opportunities.

Now, Maria is an Apprenticeship Ambassador and a Project Manager within the Expansion team and recognises that her Apprenticeship experience helped her to progress into her current role, after discussing her hard work in her interview, proving she can go above and beyond.

Maria has “no doubt” that her Apprenticeship changed her life for the better and is “truly behind the Apprenticeship scheme”. 

So, what is Maria’s next career move? She has no regrets about the time spent on her Apprenticeship and is “itching to get back into it”, using her Level 5 qualification to progress onto a Level 6 programme one day. Maria is passionate about proving that “if I can do it, anyone can do it”.