In our Bright Lights series, we showcase some of our brilliant employees and their experience of working here at STG Aerospace. This month, Bethan Swarbrick talks about the incredible support she has had from the firm throughout her ongoing studies and the ‘extra-curricular’ contributions she has been making at STG.
Whilst joining STG four years ago was not Bethan’s first job, it was the first step in her accountancy career, a profession for which she is still studying hard. Now with the added benefit of gaining practical experience whilst working full time within her field of study.
Having completed her Level 3 AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualifications, Bethan spotted that STG Aerospace were advertising for a role which included study support. Committed to continuing her studies whilst gaining practical experience, she went for the opportunity and joined STG in August 2019. Completing her Level 4 qualifications the following June, making her a qualified bookkeeper.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Bethan ploughed straight on with her studies in September 2020, this time to become a fully qualified accountant through the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Studying alongside a full-time job, the qualification takes five years to complete, so Bethan has two years (and five more modules) to go, not that she’s counting!
“I will be excited when I finish my studies, I’ve not stopped revising since my GCSEs! It has been a busy few years, but STG have been so supportive. Letting me have a day per week during term time to attend lectures so that I can keep up with studies, without it impacting my work. To start with, I was doing two modules per term, but it was a lot to take on so I’m now doing one module per term, which is more manageable.”
Bethan is an Accounts Assistant at STG, assisting the Management Accountant and Chief Financial Officer in preparing reports for monthly accounts, helping with day-to-day transactions, as well as supporting other members of the team where necessary. As a global operation, this involves being in touch with suppliers from across the world.
“This sometimes comes with a bit of a language barrier. I've found the best way to overcome this is to use as few words as possible to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.”
Bethan is happy to be part of a close-knit Accounts team that really support and look out for each other. This proved particularly important at the outbreak of Covid-19, just 7 months after she joined STG.
“I have an auto-immune disease and so I was one of the shielders. My managers have always been really understanding of my medical needs, and being able to work from home has really helped me so I’m not always picking up colds and flu.”
She adds that Covid had a significant impact on her team, forcing her paper-heavy role to transfer from physical documentation to online, a welcome change that has made daily processes much easier and more efficient.
On top of work and studies, Bethan has become involved in other initiatives at STG. In 2021 she trained as a Mental Health First Aider in order to understand and recognise the signs when a colleague may be in need of support, and to signpost them towards help available.
Bethan also sits on the firm’s Global Kaizen Council. This group focuses on the Japanese concept of looking for opportunities to continually improve in a way that involves a complete cross-section of employees, at all levels.
Together, the group considers a range of issues or challenges from across the business that could be improved upon, often by just a small change, which over time will make a significant difference. Ideas and solutions can come from across all teams, ranging from adjustments to data management to tweaking processes on the production line. Together, members of the Kaizen Council find a way to help drive improvements on the status quo.
In recent months, Bethan has also had a lot on her plate personally, buying her first home and planning a wedding - until she tied the knot in March. She is now looking forward to her imminent honeymoon in Italy, taking in Rome, Florence and Venice on a well-earned break.
“It’s actually the first time I’ll be getting on a plane since I joined STG. I know that I will be looking at the emergency exit marking in the cabin to see whether it’s ours!”