Neil Williams, a Regional Sales Manager for Interserve Learning & Employment, is undertaking a Level 4 Management Apprenticeship. Having left school following his A-Levels aged 18, Neil decided that a University education wasn’t for him and started work in a sales team. Seventeen years later, he welcomes the opportunity to gain recognition for his skills and knowledge, and to lay the foundation for future progression.
“For a while now I’ve been thinking that while I didn’t do a degree I haven’t done any further qualifications either and you want to have something to show for your hard work sometimes. I have picked up a lot of experience having been out of school for 17 years, but what have I got to show for that knowledge? Sometimes it’s nice to have the qualification to demonstrate your competence and for it to be rubber stamped.”
Three months into the Apprenticeship programme, Neil is already seeing a direct benefit on his work. “The amount I have learnt through doing this qualification already tells me it is definitely worthwhile doing it. The different management tools are helping me get the best out of my team.
We have recently talked about certain aspects of the qualification which have been very relevant to the work I have done and am doing. The guidance I have had has really helped me do my job. It has also given me the confidence to speak in an open forum and share my opinion with the senior management team when we are planning what we are doing. I can hopefully try and pass on some of the information that I have learned to the guys in my team. And if that means that they have got more skills, then they in turn are going to do their job better which is going to make my life easier.”
Having been out of formal learning for around 17 years, Neil had some concerns about returning to the classroom, but found that an Apprenticeship offered the right blend of practical and theoretical learning. “The biggest advantage of doing an Apprenticeship is that you are learning the skills on the job. A classroom can teach you so much, the theory is great, but the real world is so different.
You are able to choose optional units and that makes the Apprenticeship more specific to what you are actually doing in your job role. So it’s not just a case of ‘I’m getting a qualification and that’s all that matters’. You are getting a job specific, role specific qualification and it’s all about getting the skills.
An Apprenticeship provider will come into your workplace to help you do the job that you are doing. They are also giving you the assistance to do the work at home. It’s not like you are having to go to night school like you had to years ago and you won’t have to sit through any lectures!
The biggest challenge is the amount of work you have to do and you do have to be committed; no-one should tell you it’s an easy qualification. You have assignments which you have to do in your own time at home so as much as it assists me and gives me those extra valuable skills, it does take hard work – and time management becomes crucial! I had to sit down and look at the course guide, work out what I would need to do and what assignments would be required, but my assessor helped me with that a lot and I developed a plan with her advice and experience. We can communicate by email and I can always pick the phone up to her, so it is very helpful.”
While the work can be challenging, Neil is confident that it is worth it. “You only get out what you put in. For me, this has given me that something extra to do my job and enhancing my skills further ultimately makes my job easier. It makes me more efficient. It makes me better at doing what I am doing. I want to progress in my career and I’m sure that this will give me the tools to take on new roles further up the ladder in the future. It may open up opportunities for me - future progression and hopefully future promotions within the business”.
No matter where you are on your chosen career path, talk to us about the options that are open to you and we will help you to progress and to make your future a successful one.