National Apprenticeship Week 2024

Steffi Nolan

Tell us a bit about your apprenticeship. 

I do the APM Project Management Level 4 apprenticeship. This is to develop understanding of what is required to work as a project manager and develop skills to successfully manage projects. 

What made you want to do an apprenticeship? 

I was looking for further development, as I had limited project management experience and was looking to progress into a project management role. Another member of my team was on this apprenticeship and recommended it to me. I thought it would be a good opportunity as not all workplaces offer this learning and development option. 

What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship? 

To properly consider what skills they want to develop and learning gap they are trying to fill. I would also recommend speaking to others on the same or a similar apprenticeship to understand the expectations and requirements of the course. I think I would have benefitted from looking at other apprenticeships on offer, as at times my course hasn’t been as relevant to my work as others may have been. 

What have you enjoyed most about your apprenticeship? 

I have enjoyed the opportunity to be learning again, and then applying that learning to my job role. My course is made up of an exam and then a portfolio of work that is presented to an assessor. The exam content was a lot of new learning for me, and I quite enjoyed getting into revision. The portfolio has involved more reflective practice, which has been useful for me to see the range of experiences I have undertaken in my role. 

How do you manage your work-life balance with completing an apprenticeship? 

This has been quite tricky for me, as I have taken on different roles during my apprenticeship and my responsibilities have changed. This has meant I’ve found it harder to prioritise time for my apprenticeship, or I will set time aside but something more urgent will come in. I have done some work in my own time, on evenings and weekends, to make up for this, but where possible have used my one workday a week that is allotted for apprenticeship tasks.   

How has completing an Apprenticeship helped with your career progression at the CA? 

I think taking on the apprenticeship has helped me in securing a promotion, as it demonstrated my proactive approach to my learning and development and my willingness to fill gaps in my knowledge and experiences. 

Anything else you’d like to add? 

I think the opportunity to undertake an apprenticeship is something more people at the organisation should consider. I have been supported and encouraged throughout by my line manager. I would encourage people to look into them, especially as there is a wide range of apprenticeships available. 

 As a manager: 

 What advice would you give to another manager considering supporting an apprenticeship? 

Apprenticeships are a learning and development opportunity for the employee and anyone undertaking one is showing a proactive approach to filling gaps in their learning and development. Supporting an apprenticeship will be beneficial for the individual and the team in the long run. You should be understanding of the time commitment needed for the apprenticeship and ensure the apprentice is setting aside sufficient time to complete everything needed for their course. 

Tell us how you managed the 20% off the job learning hours? 

We managed this as the apprentice having one day a week to complete course activities. We had this as a Friday as this is a quieter day for our team so the apprentice wouldn’t be missing key meetings etc. 

Tell us how the information gathered from the apprenticeship reviews was included into performance management reviews? 

This one wasn’t as relevant for us as I took on this apprentice towards the end of their course 

Are you wanting to find an apprenticeship opportunity of your own? Contact our Employment Support team to find out more. Click here.