Why choose an apprenticeship? - Our people

by Guest Blogger, 08 February 2021
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As part of our National Apprenticeship Week celebrations, we caught up with Kerrie Galvin, Administrative Officer at OCR, who has recently completed a Team Leader Level 3 apprenticeship as part of her role at Cambridge Assessment.

Kerrie, why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

It seemed like an ideal opportunity to learn and develop my skills and knowledge over an extended period. I was hoping to move into a management role as the next step in my career, and as the apprenticeship focused on leading and managing people, I knew it would support me in working towards this goal. Being able to learn alongside working appealed to me and I felt like it would give me the chance to apply some of the skills that I was learning on a day-to-day basis.

How was the apprenticeship structured?

The apprenticeship was made up of 10 modules, covering various elements of managing and leading people. Each module lasted approximately a month and the whole apprenticeship was scheduled to take roughly 12-14 months to complete. The main content of each module was covered in a whole-day group workshop at the beginning of the month, before moving on to independent study and on-the-job application of my learning. I had to complete a reflective journal for each module, where I had to demonstrate the key knowledge and skills I had gained in the module and how I had applied this. The reflective journals formed part of the final assessment, which also involved an interview with an external assessor and a knowledge test.

How did the apprenticeship fit in with your existing workload?

When I applied, it was explained that 20% of my working week would need to be spent on apprenticeship-related work. During busier periods it was sometimes challenging to set aside time to focus on the apprenticeship, but I worked with my manager to ensure that we had a plan in place which allowed me to balance the requirements of the apprenticeship alongside my other responsibilities. Activities such as applying the skills and knowledge I had learnt could count towards this 20%, rather than just time spent on independent study or writing reflective journals, and I was able to see the positive impact that my learning had on how I carried out my role.

Why would you recommend an apprenticeship to others?

I would recommend an apprenticeship if you’re looking to develop your skills or progress your career, as it gives you the opportunity to combine learning and working at the same time, and you can apply your new knowledge immediately in your role. I found that the regular coaching sessions were beneficial as they gave me dedicated time to reflect on how I had applied skills and how I would make changes going forwards. As apprentices in my cohort were from different areas of the organisation, I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about other teams and reflect on how some of their good practices could be implemented in my team.

How has the apprenticeship helped build your career?

When I was close to completing the apprenticeship, I was successful in being seconded to a management role and I believe that the learning and skills I gained in the apprenticeship have helped me transition into the role more smoothly. As we covered strategies for dealing with a range of situations and potential challenges throughout the apprenticeship, I felt well prepared in knowing how to manage issues as they arose and have been able to use my knowledge on a day-to-day basis. The apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to complete tasks and projects that I may not have done otherwise, and it was a very worthwhile experience overall.

Kerrie Galvin Blogger

Kerrie Galvin, Administrative Officer, OCR

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