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Hillcrest’s Amber Winton Wins Apprentice of the Year at Scotland’s Housing Awards

Posted: October 30, 2023

We are delighted to announce that Amber Winton achieved the Apprentice of the Year Award at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Scotland Housing Awards, last Friday evening. The Scotland Housing Awards recognise and celebrate the creativity, passion, and innovation of housing organisations and individuals across the sector in Scotland.

Amber with her well deserved award

Amber won the award for her unwavering dedication to going above and beyond the requirements of her role to help others, and for making a positive impact in everything she does at Hillcrest.

As the organisation’s Administrative Trainee, Amber is responsible for customer services related activities, welcoming visitors to the building, incoming and outgoing mail, setting up events and liaising with a large number of teams to offer administrative assistance.

As Amber explains herself, it is not just a stereotypical customer service job. “Even the thought of a stereotypical ‘customer service’ job scared me. I hated the idea of speaking to people I’d never met, having to tell people and tenants about this company I didn’t even know myself. I gave it a thought and I ended up going through with the interview process. I am so glad I did now considering the amazing position I am in. It turns out it was nothing like what I thought.”

The nature of Amber’s role means that she has had to develop a range of skills in areas like admin, customer service, networking, call handling and lots more and also has the opportunity to work across different teams. Amber is mainly based with reception but has already had the chance to work with development and is now regularly with the finance team who are so impressed by her that they have offered her a position until the completion of her apprenticeship.

Amber is a well-known face at Hillcrest’s HQ and is always one of the first to volunteer for any additional projects or initiatives. She was happy to be filmed as part of apprenticeship week to encourage others to take up the opportunity and is an active member of Hillcrest’s Young Person’s Group.

Since starting at Hillcrest, she has independently set up three donation stations in Hillcrest offices for the Dundee Food Bank. She takes monthly trips to deliver all of the donations and is always coming up with other ways to help. At Christmas last year Amber, and two of the other apprentices, set up a giving Christmas tree. She encouraged staff to donate money to have a bauble with their name on the tree and as a result raised £400. For someone who first hated the thought of speaking to people she had never met, Amber’s confidence has grown enormously – she not only communicates with a large group of people internally but is already building relationships with external companies. 

Amber says of her role “Now 8 months into my apprenticeship, I am starting to see the hard work paying off with opportunities I have been given. This job has helped me mature, I still have my playful, bubbly personality which will never change but I have gone from being a shy, worried, immature teenager to an independent, ambitious and strong woman and I couldn’t be any more proud of myself. This job has brought out the best version of me and that mostly comes down to the lovely and welcoming staff that’s made me feel so at home from day one.”

We are pleased to mention that Tianah Scott, HR Business Administration Modern Apprentice was also shortlisted for this Award, for her hard work, positive attitude and ability to embrace new challenges. Tianah came directly from school to Hillcrest, and has gained a great number of skills over a short period of time. Everyone comments on how professional Tianah is and how eager and quick to learn she is.

Tianah originally started working with the HR Team, however Payroll required support and she was keen to help and showed such willingness to learn that she now works for both teams. Every month, in addition to her HR responsibilities, she processes expenses for the whole organisation which involves understanding complex legislation in relation to mileage, tax and national insurance. She demonstrated her understanding so well that recently she was asked to prepare and deliver a presentation explaining the process to both HR and Payroll Teams. The presentation was so well received that it will now be used for any new members of staff starting in that area.

Well done to both Amber and Tianah, we are very proud of you!

A full list of all the winners at the Awards can be found here.