Tracey's Story -

Tracey’s Story

Originally from Zimbabwe, I arrived in the UK in 2003. What an eye opener the UK was to me! My childhood had been spent in the farming and mining community, where, to a child, nothing was urgent, it was accepted that we walked around with no shoes on all day, and everyone knew everyone else! Even when we moved into the capital city, Harare, everything happened in its own time.

Rather than move to a town school for my last few years of junior school, I became a boarder and stayed out in the country. I loved boarding school! High school was another matter for me. I hated it! It wasn’t the teachers or my classmates, I just never liked being in a classroom! So I did my O Levels and a year of Commercial studies and left school as quickly as I could!

My first job was as a junior bookkeeper for a Chartered Accounting company. Then I managed to get a more administration type position with Ernst & Young, working with their deceased estates, liquidations and forensic accounts divisions. I loved that role! I did all the admin for 3 managers and a partner, which kept me very busy, and gave me a lot of variety so I didn’t get bored!! Unfortunately, Ernst & Young were based in the centre of town, so when security started becoming a bit of an issue, I found a job with an insurance company based in the suburbs. Again, I worked for the 3 directors and a broker, and loved every minute of it!

Early in 2003 my boyfriend was offered a temporary job with a family friend who owned a business in Rishton. So we decided the time had come for us to make the biggest move of our lives. Lee came over to the UK in March 2003. I followed in June 2003. It was the first time I’d ever left home, the first time I’d left Africa, and the first time I’d travelled anywhere on my own.

I found a job working for a small construction company, doing their admin work as well as their bookkeeping. It took me some time to settle down to UK life. I was very homesick and missed my family terribly. We were very lucky to have amazing neighbours in Rishton, who took us under their wing and showed us around. They even took us to our very first football match – and yes Richard, it was at Turf Moor!

Lee and I got married in 2006 and bought our house in Oswaldtwistle. In 2008 our son was born and in 2013 our daughter was born.

I worked for the construction company for 7.5 years, until in January 2011 the recession and the fall of the construction industry in general, saw them go into administration.

So I was on the hunt for a new job, something very daunting for someone who had only ever worked in 1 company since arriving in the UK! In March 2011 I registered with Cummins Mellor, in the hope they would be able to find me something local, where I could put down roots again! Within a few weeks, a consultant contacted me and asked me to pop into the office for a catch up. I was told that there was a maternity cover position opening up in one of the departments, and would I be interested. I was so excited! Finally, a job opportunity and close to home! I met Michelle that afternoon, and she was so welcoming and encouraging.

And so in April 2011, I started on my journey with Cummins Mellor, and I was given my permanent contract in May 2011. I worked in Personnel Checks for about 6 months, as an admin and accounts assistant. From my very first day I was encouraged and given opportunities to develop and learn. I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of people – some of which were memorably loud! There had only ever been 5 of us in the office at the last company I worked at!  But everyone was so welcoming and the atmosphere in the offices so open and friendly.

I couldn’t get over how relaxed Richard and Michelle were, coming around the offices and chatting to us all every day. And their dog, Charlie, came into the offices too! Everyone was so quick to offer encouragement and give praise. Team meals out and company events were all new to me – and I loved them!

After about 6 months I was approached by Richard and Michelle and asked whether I’d be interested in moving into the recruitment side of the business, to work alongside the consultants as their secretary. This was such an amazing opportunity for me, as I really wanted to prove myself and grow within the company. The task was daunting, as I had to learn so much again, but I loved the challenge. I was given free reign to sort out the filing systems, establish processes and whenever I expressed an interest in learning something new, I was encouraged and given the training I needed.

I am now the Business and Recruitment Administration Manager. My role keeps me extremely busy, and no day is ever the same. I get to work with each of the different departments within the business, which I love – not only do I get to work with so many different people, but the variety makes what I do really interesting and exciting. I have a lovely relationship with Richard and Michelle, who from day 1 have offered nothing but support, encouragement and opportunities to develop and grow within the business.

The whole culture of Cummins Mellor is based on it being a family business, and I can honestly agree with this. Everyone works hard, but we all have wonderful fun too! It’s so nice to enjoy going to work every morning, and come home after a busy day and just relax with my family. Often a candidate has been in the office during one of our dress down days or some event we’re doing, and they all say “I’d love to work here”. Luckily for me, I do work here!