Did you know we have been supporting the career development of its professional services staff through the University’s Apprentice Scheme? Apprenticeships are a great way to learn new skills alongside a full-time job. They can be used to enrich the skills of current experienced staff and open up new opportunities, or for bringing in fresh, talented, new staff and providing them with training to help establish a new career.
The scheme means that staff can use 20% of their time to attend lectures and complete coursework while maintaining their full-time salary. This allows them to use their day-to-day work as real-life examples for the course, and also to bring their new learning back to the workplace immediately. There are also real benefits to the university as staff can bring new points of view to help improve processes and procedures.
Five staff members are either currently studying, or have recently completed, apprenticeships in a wide variety of subjects.
· Gemma Giove-Hunt completed the Associate Project Management (Level 4*) course in 2022. Gemma said she has learned a huge amount from her course, and she found the blend of real-life work and theory behind why certain processes are in place to be really valuable. It has also opened up a new career path in project management for Gemma and she has since been promoted to be a full-time Project Manager in the ChARM and Health Neuroscience groups.
· Rob Clarke, receptionist at HSB, is about to complete the Facilities Management (Level 3*) course. His knowledge about the importance of facilities management and how diverse the role can be in different organisations has improved dramatically. He says he is now in a much better position to apply practices to the HSB as well as assist other buildings when needed. And Rob’s great work has not gone unnoticed! The recognition he has received since doing the course has improved his confidence and he finds he is more willing to challenge himself further in other areas.
· Linda Pointon completed the Improvement Practitioner (Level 4*) course, having been a research manager for many years. This has allowed her to learn the theory behind improvement projects, as well as the practical tools that are needed to effectively demonstrate benefits. This has given her the skills and confidence to change career direction and take on the full-time programme management of the CAM:IDE.
· Kerry Jones completed the Business Administration (Level 3*) course in 2022, in her first role since leaving sixth form. This has allowed her to gain a recognised qualification and learn skills which she could immediately apply to her workplace. Through the course, Kerry has expanded her knowledge about legislation in the workplace. She has also learned about evaluating workplace processes and adapting them to make her team more efficient. Kerry is now the full-time Administrator for the ChARM group.
· Sara Ashraf is now also studying for the Business Administration qualification and we look forward to hearing about her successes in the future.
Everyone who has graduated so far has achieved the highest grade of Distinction. All the apprentices have been nominated by their colleagues for a university-wide Apprenticeship Award, and Gemma and Rob were both recognised with a Highly Commended award.
When asked about their experiences, a common theme was that time management was quite a challenging issue. There is a lot of work to do, and it is important to make sure you have your manager’s support to really ringfence one day a week. And don’t check your emails! Having said that, everyone would definitely recommend apprenticeships as a great way to learn.
*Note: Level 4 apprenticeships are equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree, or a Higher National Certificate (HNC) and the Advanced Apprenticeship level 3 is equivalent to two A levels, or a T-level pass.