Renfrewshire Council

Jason and Rebecca are learners by trade

Trading Standards trainees Jason Hampsay and Rebecca Wilson talk about their experiences learning at work

We are uncovering the many learning and development opportunities available here at Renfrewshire Council as part of Learning at Work Week 2022.

As a place that values learning we encourage colleagues to take responsibility for their own learning and share that learning with each other.

Two colleagues who live by these values every day are Jason Hampsay and Rebecca Wilson from our Trading Standards and Licensing team.

Jason and Rebecca are working towards becoming fully qualified Trading Standards Officers and are both learning on the job. We caught up with them to find out how they feel after successfully completing their stage 1 exams and if they would recommend combining study and work.

Fact File
Image of Jason Hampsay

Name: Jason Hampsay

Role: Fair Trading Officer

Started working at the council:March 2013

Started current role: March 2020

Likes: Spending time with family, fishing, Aldi's middle aisle

Dislikes:Midges, sweetcorn, people that don't wave when you let them out at junctions.

Image of Rebecca Wilson

Name: Rebecca Wilson

Role: Fair Trading Officer

Started working at the council: June 2015

Started current role: February 2020

Likes:Spending time with family and friends, cooking, being outdoors - walking, climbing, wild swimming, camping

Dislikes:Heights, having my picture taken, coffee


Congratulations to both of you on passing Stage 1 of your Trading Standards qualification. How does it feel?

Jason: I was ecstatic when I got my pass in December. Waiting for results at that time of year is extra nerve-wrecking; it was either going to make or break my Christmas holidays. I couldn't wait to tell my family and let the team know that their hard work was not in vain.

Rebecca: Having waited a couple of months for the results, the anticipation was making me so nervous. I couldn't sleep the night before the results came and when the email arrived, I was scared to open it. But I was delighted to see that I'd done better than I thought. I really feel like there is room for progression here and that this is more than a job, it's a career.

How were you feeling on the run up to your exams?

Jason: It really depends on what day you asked me; one day I'd be feeling confident then the next I was a nervous wreck thinking I had forgotten everything!

Rebecca: I was quietly confident but was nervous to say it out loud. I didn't want to embarrass myself if I ended up doing worse than I thought I would.

Do you feel supported in your studies at work?

Jason: Honestly, the time and support I have received is way more than I expected. The backing from my manager Faye and the rest of the team is outstanding and key to me passing stage 1. They all put aside time from their own busy schedules to help me and I never once felt I was hinderance.

Rebecca: Definitely. We are very well supported during work hours by all the trading standards officers and our manager Faye has gone over and above, even being available for us to message her with questions during weekends as the exams approached.

What is it like working and studying at the same time? What challenges have you experienced, and would you recommend this path to others?

Jason: I would absolutely recommend to anyone thinking about taking a similar path that they should go for it. Learning new things one day then spending the next few days, weeks, or even months (in some cases) applying that learning is invaluable. My only caution would be to make you choose something that's right for you.

Working towards a qualification is a huge commitment and I realised soon after I started that I'd greatly underestimated the amount of work I'd be involved in. Even though I get a lot of time for my studies, with the exam approaching I still had to make time to study at home - which wasn't easy having a toddler. So, I'm grateful to my wife and family for all their support at home. 

Rebecca: It was challenging starting out just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. There's a lot of work involved and it's much easier to turn around and ask a quick question when you are in the same place as your colleagues. But learning on the job is great because you can put that learning into practice right away. I would 100% recommend it to anyone who was interested in improving their qualifications and skills.

It's great to be doing this alongside a colleague because we can help and support each other. It's also amazing to work with people who have already achieved their qualification and Faye is so passionate about the profession, it really inspires me.

What's next? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Jason: Hopefully in five years' time I will have passed all my exams and I'll be doing another staff news story and reflecting on what a wonderful journey it has been. That is the long-term goal. For now, I can honestly say I'm enjoying the day-to-day with a great team of colleagues who are supporting me every step of the way.

Rebecca: The goal for five years from now is to still be working here but as a fully qualified trading standards officer. Jason and I are now working towards completing our stage 2 portfolios which we are aiming to complete by April 2023. After that we have our "weights and measures section" which is huge and might take another year. There is a long road ahead but I'm taking it step by step, not putting too much pressure on myself and enjoying the journey.