Rebecca Mills - Surindera Studios: A powerful employer reference in creative media industry

Posted: 6th of January 2020 by Parisha

Rebecca started her Level 3 Creative Media apprenticeship at Surindera Studios about 2 years ago through West Met Skills and completed it in August 2019. She then joined university to take her career further.

Why I chose to do an apprenticeship first?

“I decided to do an apprenticeship because I didn’t feel ready for university but I knew I wanted to get in to photography. By doing this apprenticeship, I managed to learn how to work in a shop, learnt to deal with the customers, learnt more about photography and found out how different companies work.

My day-to-day task would include taking bookings, doing passport size photos, editing photos and videos, learning about colour profiles and work processes, helping to prepare equipment for video shots and storing equipment.

I have gained a lot of practical knowledge from doing this apprenticeship rather than going straight to university. I chose West Met Skills because it suited me the best. This apprenticeship allowed me to work in a studio and helped me improve my photography skills. It was also quite easily accessible campus as Harrow was local to me. The West Met Skills team supported me throughout my apprenticeship journey. My assessor would always give me advice about improving my course work and working in a studio in general. 

After completing this apprenticeship, I have now joined Leeds Trinity University September 2019 to study photography. I want to progress in photography and take my existing knowledge further that I gained through this apprenticeship. Doing this apprenticeship has given me the reassurance I wanted to pursue my career in photography.”

A confident and committed individual – an employer’s dream

Shaminder Balrai, owner of Surindera Studios says, from day one I could see Rebecca was motivated and a self-starter. She was keen to learn and was a fast learner. She was ready take on new projects and could be relied upon to take things off my hands very soon after starting with us indeed.

She was passionate about photography before she started her apprenticeship so she was very motivated to carry on learning about colour profiles, headshots, passport photos, digital image production and the correct handling of equipment, as well as different wedding photography settings. She also quickly learnt about video editing and assisted in video production right from the start.

Rebecca always displayed confidence around multi-tasking and exceeded my expectations for the quality of work produced. Rebecca and I looked after the studio together and managed the entire workload. Rebecca did a range of different roles from being at the front of house, taking passport photos, receiving payments from the customers, to high level photography and video shooting and editing. She also planned the social media calendar to promote our business, changed the way we handle and store equipment, all the time working on her regular projects.

Rebecca was always keen on finding new processes to improve the way we worked. To manage the range of activities in the studio whilst I could peacefully focus on larger projects Rebecca created a shared online planner/ list system including all our activities plus project progression updates. Therefore, even if I am swamped with work, I can always go online and check the social media plans for the day, customer bookings and project progresses. This has been a fantastic help. Essentially, Rebecca has created an online database to log, update and monitor our core activities plus manage our social media marketing. This process has completely changed the way we work and made it so much easier to manage every task. This database is still being used daily.

As we worked in partnership, Rebecca did not have much opportunity to work with any other internal staff apart from myself. However, her constant eagerness to bring in fresh ideas, her zest for doing things differently to continually improve our daily activities has influenced me personally. As she was always highly motivated, it brought a very positive mind set to the studio, giving us the boost we needed to manage daily activities and improve what we do. Rebecca has a maturity beyond her years and feedback from her College assessor reflected this.

An inspiration for others

A few weeks before she left we took on a second apprentice so we could have a smooth handover. She helped and supported the new apprentice and the transition was very smooth. She showed him all the responsibilities of the job, how to check everything that he has done, and how to work in a way that always guarantees quality.  Even in her absence Rebecca’s legacy of established processes and practice has greatly influenced and shaped the way our second apprentice works.

Working for an Asian wedding photography and videography specialist, Rebecca always showed real interest in learning about different cultures, understanding customer taste and could quickly deliver on assignments that would meet or exceed our customer expectations. When dealing with customer bookings Rebecca was extremely professional and our customers always left the studio with a positive experience.

Rebecca is a truly creative and highly motivated individual for her age who always brings a positive feeling to anything she works on. She is a real go-getter and does not shy away from bringing fresh ideas to table.

She is passionate about photography so she soaked up all the photographic knowledge she could while she was working at Surindera Studios. Now she has chosen to build on to that practical knowledge, learn more and improve existing skills, and pursue her passion in photography whilst studying at Leeds Trinity University! I truly believe Rebecca will shine through her career, not only because of her skills, but also for her being that driven person who will achieve and be very successful.

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