Shield Security employee Aaliyah Marritt is a finalist in the Hull Daily Mail 2014 Business Awards, with the winners to be announced this Thursday night.

Aaliyah is one of the final two in the Employee of the Year category, a magnificent achievement given the awards are across the entire of East Yorkshire.

Aaliyah joined Shield straight from school as an apprentice but quickly became a key member of the team.

Having left Newland School for Girls with 11 GSCES to her name, managing director Dave Frank was immediately impressed with her academic skills, and her desire to head straight into the world of work.

But as she settled into life at the business it was the teenager’s confidence and ability to deal with people at all levels across the company, make decisions on her own shoulders, and solve problems instinctively, that pleasingly surprised him.

“Aaliyah came in to work for us as an apprentice with no real work experience and just threw herself into the business,” said Mr Frank, who set up the growing company 10 years ago.

“A security company was not the obvious choice for a teenage girl leaving school with a string of excellent qualifications to her name, but Aaliyah dedicated herself to learning the ropes quickly, understanding the business, and more importantly the needs of our customers.”

Having started by taking calls and being the first port of call for people calling the business in her early days, Aaliyah soon moved on from being a message taker and handling only clerical jobs to playing a bigger role internally.

Impressed by her organisation and ability to talk with fellow employees on all levels, she was handed the extra responsibility for ensuring the firm’s security officers – more than 300 in total working across the North of England – had all their uniforms, and information and keys to hand for each of their jobs.

Again, handling the step up in her stride, her duties continued to expand, and she is now responsible for managing many day-to-day staff issues which are crucial to Shield maintaining its reputation as one of the North’s leading security firms.

“Aaliyah is now not only the first point of contact for our clients, but also for our staff too on many issues,” added Mr Frank.

“As we have so many security officers covering sites across the region, 24 hours a day, there are often needs to alter staff rotas due to illness and holidays, and Aaliyah now takes control of that for us and ensures all of our staff know exactly where they need to be and when.

“She will ensure we have the appropriate cover and never find ourselves in a situation where we are unable to cover a security job. She deals with the security officers without having to pass through senior managers for confirmation, such is our confidence in her.”

Whilst carrying out these duties, Aaliyah, who has combined her apprenticeship with studying for an NVQ in business studies, has also been trained to work in the heartbeat of the company’s operation, the 24-hour CCTV Control Centre, as part of the team monitoring thousands of cameras on behalf of clients.

Already she has proved just as sharp and able in that role, with her quick thinking leading to the company winning praise from the NHS, when raising an early alarm at the Bedes View Care Home in Hull.

Having spotted people on security cameras behaving in suspicious manner, it was Aaliyah who raised the alarm and sent out security officers, leading to the intruders being scared off, and no property was damaged or taken as a result.

“This was yet another example of Aaliyah using her initiative and being bold enough to raise an alarm quickly and set security officers on route to the premises without the delay of seeking approval from a senior manager,” added Mr Frank

“Such is her confidence and ability, we often forget she is just 16 and only in her first job. She is so mature for her age, and importantly she is willing to go the extra mile each and every day that she comes into work. It is that commitment which has made her such a success.

“We have been delighted to have taken her on, and she will become a full-time employee with the business in September as we are proud of her achievements and she is very much a key part of the Shield Security team.”

Aaliyah said:” I really enjoy working at Shield. From the very start they have involved me in all that goes on at the business and been prepared to give me opportunities to take on important work which has been really rewarding.

“I am encouraged to make decisions with confidence, and that makes you feel a key part of the team and has certainly helped me progress. It is a great place to work, with a nice working environment and team spirit. I am grateful for the chances they have given me.”

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