April 1, 2021

My name is Emma Beauchamp and I am the North East YAAN Chair. I’m currently enrolled on a degree apprenticeship, and I’m a Technical Sales Engineer for Northumbria Optical Coatings, although I began the lockdown as Gestamp as a Trainee Account Engineer. I began working from home in March, 2020, which I enjoyed, so I’m looking forward to doing more of that in the future. I had better work-life balance and even felt more productive!

Being furloughed

I was furloughed early in the lockdown and was fortunate enough to still have my health, as do my family. I’ve been able to appreciate the break and learned some new skills – as I’m now my brother’s barber…

I submitted my dissertation just before lockdown, so I’ve been able to relax and do the things I rarely had time for, which has been great, but maybe not so good for my bank account (although Jeff Bezos could argue it’s helped his!).

Sometimes, I felt a little guilty I’m at home while they work through a pandemic…However it allowed me to properly appreciate how others involved in the network have dealt with working in the pandemic, and some of their stories have been amazing! Something that I may not have appreciated as much, had I also been working.


I managed to wrap everything up and finish the elements required for the EPA of my apprenticeship, which became a little more complicated because of furlough. However, with guidance and support from the university, I’m delighted to have finished everything off…it’s been a tough few years!

Looking forward

It is a worrying time, but everyone is in the same boat and as we work out how to move forward together in the best way. That encourages me to see positives, wherever possible. I have spent some of my spare time working on YAAN projects, getting to grips with my new role and looking at how we can drive forward as a network, despite the challenges we are now going to face 🙂


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