As National Apprenticeship Week 2024 draws to a close, our Head of Business Growth, Rachel Newman who is currently a degree apprentice, reflects on what apprenticeships mean to her whilst celebrating the wins and the skills she has developed on course.
'During National Apprenticeship Week 2024, I thought I would share my current reflections on apprenticeships as a whole and what it personally means to me.
I’m currently studying a degree apprenticeship (PG Dip Business Administration Scale Up Senior Leaders Apprenticeship – Level 7) at Liverpool John Moores University so I am returning to learning later in life as an adult. At the grand old age of 38, I have finally figured out what I want to do in life and I’m fortunate that my amazing workplace, Open Awards, has provided me with the opportunity to do this degree apprenticeship in a bid to grow and develop as a leader within the organisation.
From my individual experience of completing an apprenticeship later in life, here are my key takeaways which hopefully summarise the ups and downs and highs and lows of the wonderful journey that is an apprenticeship….
For me, learning is all about empowerment. I read a lot of personal development books and have recently started to share my top tips and findings with my team during bi-weekly sessions in a bid to share the wisdom! My course is part-time and over 2 years and the development I have seen within myself over that period has been phenomenal. Luckily, my manager also sees this and it is reflected in the leadership of my team. The confidence I have found since starting this course has been tenfold.
Opportunity within Careers:
I believe that education always leads to opportunities and social mobility. It can open doors to better job prospects, higher income, and improved living standards. The apprenticeship has not only provided me with skills and theories to implement, its also made me consider what are my strengths and weaknesses and where I am best placed in the workplace to utilise my newfound skills. It has also made me consider career opportunities with a fresh outlook on supporting the business in different areas
Skills are what make the world go round and the skills that I have learned and developed since being on my course are invaluable to both the business and me. Currently, in the education sector, there is such a focus on achievement and pass rates. Whilst I appreciate that is important, for me, apprenticeships are about obtaining skills – skills for the workplace, skills for learning, and most importantly, skills for life.
Passion for Apprenticeships:
Working for an End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) already, I thought I knew everything about apprenticeships but there is nothing like living the experience yourself as a bit of a reality check. Not only do I have the perspective of an EPAO, but I also have the outlook of an apprentice currently on programme. These outlooks have played a big part in how we at Open Awards understand the challenges that face apprentices and training providers and have allowed us to tailor our support to match their needs.
As a ‘mature’ apprentice, it has been difficult to balance having a full-time job, and two children and completing a degree apprenticeship, especially at such a high level. I’ve had my moments – the breakdowns, the ‘I can’t do thisthe