This is me - Aminur's story
To celebrate what makes everyone so unique and special at DLG, we spoke to eight of our colleagues to find out what make them - well, them
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I am motivated
No matter what I start, I'm always motivated to see it through to the end. I'm 23, and I'm determined to prove to the world that not everyone my age is doing nothing with their life. My work with DLG as an apprentice panel beater is a stepping stone to where I want to get to, and I have some big plans to make something of my life.
I am a fitness fanatic
I believe that if I take care of my body, it will take care of me! I was in my best shape when I was younger. I played a lot of rugby, and even sprinted and ran cross country for my school and college. Now, I'm trying to get back to that level of fitness. It's something I loved doing as I was growing up, but then other things came up and life got in the way. But I've started swimming and hitting the gym, keeping active in all sorts of ways. I am an avid cycler too – I even have a race bike at home!
I try to do as many different sporty things as I can. I find that the more I do, the easier it is to get along with others. Finding a common ground with people is really important to me as an adult, as I didn't really fit in at school. Even though I was born in the UK, my parents weren't, and my first language was Bengali, not English. I found it difficult making friends and finding an identity. There were only a few other people of my heritage at school – and one was my cousin! But then I found that getting into lots of different hobbies helped me relate to people.
Now, I have at least five different friendship groups I bounce around: football friends, gym friends, car show friends - all sorts. We all do lots of different things together. Being active helped me find them in the first place.
I am proud of my heritage
I try to incorporate as much cultural stuff into my day-to-day life as I can. I'm a Muslim, for instance, and that's very important to me. Ramadan starts on the 5 May, which means fasting while working – and that isn't easy. But I try to be a good Muslim, which includes being a good son to my mum and dad.
Some things are a better cultural fit with modern life in the UK than others, but I'm careful with being appropriate and avoiding clashes wherever I can. Not everyone has been accepting of me, but whenever that has happened, I've always tried to speak to them and reason with them, to find some common ground that we share. People are often surprised by how I am, which is why I talk about my culture, and my religion, as much as possible. I'm determined to show the world that, despite what you hear on the news, not everyone is a bad egg.
I am a fixer
I'm quite a hands-on person! I love doing practical stuff and thinking logically, so taking things apart and putting them back together is something I find therapeutic. I can fix anything, be that cars or buildings, or flat-pack furniture – anything I can get my 'hands on'.
I think that's what made me come into the car trade. I did mechanics at college, which I really enjoyed, and as I finished, this apprenticeship at DLG popped up. It's perfect for me, and what I'm naturally good at. If the panels of a car are damaged in an accident, they come to me to be repaired, or replaced. I'm a fixer in every sense, it's what I do.
I am a car enthusiast
I've only been driving for six years, but I've already had 10 cars. I have modified every one of them in some way and made them unique to me. I have had a BMW since January, and I've already modified the suspension, worked on the exhaust and added new wheels. I have some big plans for it, and I'm looking forward to exhibiting it at car shows.
I'm a firm believer in the fact that, if you like the thing you're working with, or who you're working for, it makes life so much better. I'm happy to say, I like both! I never wake up in the morning 'umming' and 'ahhing' about whether I need the job or not. This is more than 'just a job' for me, it's my passion, which means I put a bit more effort into everything I do.
I am an apprentice
To me, being an apprentice means I am a work in progress. I'm not a finished, final product. I decided to become an apprentice over going to university, as I felt I got everything I needed from college to do the job I wanted to do, without going as in-depth as I would have to at uni. But I didn't just want to go straight into work either – I wanted to be a qualified specialist.
An apprenticeship seemed like a good avenue, a way to earn and learn at the same time. Now, I'm four years in. I passed last year, so now I'm fully qualified and certified, and I'm spending an extra year working on getting my efficiency and accuracy up. In this trade the cars change, which means the materials, processes and methods are always changing too. It means I'm always learning – which is the way I like it.
Me and my two best friends at school each took a different path out of college. I became an apprentice; another went straight into work and another went to university. I'm happy to say that we've all done really well so far!
I am DLG
At DLG, I'm a part of a big family. In our Crawley repair centre, we have all sorts of different specialists on-site: technicians, panel beaters, painters in the workshop, but also office staff, floor staff and drivers. We all keep each other in mind, and all try to help each other out.
The environment can be quite stressful, there's a lot of work and it's quite highly pressured. But the people make it easier to deal with. Everyone gets along with everyone – boys and girls, young and old – and each of us has a specialism and knowledge, with the willingness to share it.
I've benefitted from the advice of people who have been in the trade for many, many years, and I've been able to advise new apprentices myself. DLG is like a library, but it's full of people, not books.