In line with this year's theme - Skills for Life - we have interviewed some of our apprentices about their programmes and the skills they have been gaining and developing on them. The skills covered in the Level 3 (Team Leader/Supervisor) and Level 5 (Operations/Departmental Manager) apprenticeship standards are skills for life in every way; they help apprentices to undetake highly effective management and leadership whatever sector they work in and at whatever stage of their career they have reached.
Read on to meet the last interview we'll be sharing this week, with Mel, and find out about her favourite elements of the programme, how her day-to-day work has benefitted from the learning, and more!
Hi Mel! Thanks for speaking to us. Firstly, what do you do and how long have you been in that role?
My role is Culture Bridge North East Programme Manager at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and I've been there for 7½ years.
Which apprenticeship programme are you on?
The Level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager
What skill or area of your day-to-day work do you think has benefitted the most from your apprenticeship?
The biggest difference for me has been in how I manage my day to day work - module 2 was all about "management of self" and I found this really eye-opening! Taking time to look at how I am organising my working day, how much of it I am in control of, and how much is influenced by demands and diversions from elsewhere was a really useful process. I think that remote working has changed the way that I work and communicate with others, and that hasn't always been to the benefit of productivity. So, picking up some really practical techniques that I can use on a daily basis has made a big difference in every area of my work.
What topic from your apprenticeship have you found easiest to transfer into your day-to-day work, and why?
Project management - my whole role is about managing and overseeing a number of projects! But I don't have any formal project management qualifications, so it's been useful to learn about different tools and models, and try putting these into practice through my work. Being required to plan and implement a project as an apprenticeship assignment helped me to bite the bullet and tackle an area of my work that I had been struggling with for a while - the tools and techniques we covered in the module gave me what I needed to pin down the problem and find a solution.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned on your apprenticeship? (about yourself OR about management & leadership theory/practice)?
I've learned a lot about my own learning style, and how this impacts on the way I work best. This has given me a deeper understanding of myself and why I work the way I do - and, in turn, this has changed the way that I manage my workload. I know myself better and have been able to adapt my working practices to make sure that I'm getting the best out of myself.
What’s been your favourite element of the of the programme?
The in-person teaching days have been so useful - it's great to get together with colleagues and to be gifted the time to talk through how we are working and how we can apply what we are learning to our roles. After a long time of home-based and then hybrid working, it's so refreshing to get to spend whole days with other people to share ideas.
What surprised you most about your apprenticeship?
How much it is validating the things I am already doing. A lot of the learning for me has been in deepening my existing knowledge, and giving me models and frameworks to support my work, rather than all being brand new information. As a result, it's building my confidence as a manager and encouraging me to trust in my own decision-making skills and abilities.
What advice would you pass on to anyone starting a management apprenticeship?
Buy a lovely new notebook! Just because this is my advice to anybody in any situation. But also, take this opportunity to learn as much as you can. It's a great excuse to ask questions, grab other people that you work with for a cuppa, and be curious about the sector you work in. "I'm doing a management apprenticeship and it would be great if I could just ask you about..." is such a door opener, so make the most of that!
Thanks again for speaking to us Mel! To finish - the theme of National Apprenticeship Week 2023 is ‘Skills for Life’ – of the skills you’ve developed or enhanced during your programme, which one do you think will benefit you the most for the rest of your career?
I'd like to think that I'm developing a lot more knowledge about myself, how I learn and approach things, and how this connects to the world of work - and that this is helping me to be a more authentic leader. I'd like to carry this with me throughout my career.
Eliesha runs both open and closed programmes for the Level 3 (Team Leader/Supervisor) and Level 5 (Operations/Departmental Manager) Apprenticeship Standards - meaning we enrol individuals who come together to form a cohort from multiple organisations, and we organise internal programmes made up entirely of learners from the same employer.
To start the conversation about how Management Apprenticeships can support your organisational learning needs and, whether you are spending Levy funds or claiming non-Levy funding, represent a very cost effective development solution, send us an email or fill out an enquiry form to arrange an exploratory chat.
Our next open programmes will be starting later this year and closed programmes can start whenever your learners are ready, so we will have the flexibility to support you.