After returning to full time work following a relative career break for my children I felt I needed to update my skills to assist me in supporting the Associate Director Of Planning and Programmes at the CSU/Director Of Commissioning Performance and hopefully boost my career. There are many apprenticeships available but we felt the Level 5 (foundation degree equivalent) Operational Management course would be the most appropriate for my role and an area I am interested in. Having supported my assistant though her Business Administration apprenticeship to completion I was aware of what it entailed from a learner and manager perspective. The set up was easy once we found a provider for the courses which the apprenticeship website can assist you with. 20% of your working hours has to be dedicated to your apprenticeship each week if work based (some day release are available) however as daunting as this sounds it can easily be made up of work related projects although you do have to do a few workbooks along the way you need some time out for. For level 3 apprenticeship standards and above there are now end point assessments which I am yet to sit. Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust are now providing apprenticeship support so I have recently swapped from Eastleigh College to them as they offer masterclasses once a month where I can mix with operational managers/department managers within the NHS undertaking the same apprenticeship as myself which I hope will broaden my knowledge of more NHS areas as well. If I’m successful in obtaining my Level 5 I can top up to a Level 7 (Master’s degree level) . From a managers perspective I had to complete four witness statements over the year for Lucy, attend a couple of meets with her tutors but mainly she got on with it herself and I was here for support if she needed it.
I fully recommend an apprenticeship for those wanting to increase their knowledge in a work related area. There are management courses/project management/HR from Level 2 up to master’s degree level available. You don’t need to be new to the organisation and for me it’s given me a great confidence boost as I haven’t studied for 17 years! The organisation has a protected levy pot to fund our staff to do these courses which we need to spend or the government will take back from us so if you and your manager agree one is appropriate and you can build the 20% time allocation needed (this can include work projects/learning/coaching) into your work time then I’d say go for it!