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Degree Apprenticeships

Jon, Senior Leader Apprenticeship

I’m currently working as a Ward Manager at Torbay Hospital and one of the reasons for doing this degree apprenticeship was basically to improve my employability. I’m looking to get into a senior leadership role so I wanted to improve my knowledge and skills and prepare myself for that kind of role as well as developing myself within my current role.

When looking at courses on offer I knew that I wanted to consciously try and get a broader experience which was one of the things that attracted me to the University of Exeter’s Senior Leader apprenticeship. The way the course is structured means that I’m mixing with such a diverse group of leaders which is a really important factor for me; it’s the one thing that has really improved my learning and experience. When you engage with people from other areas it brings another perspective and opens your mind to new ideas and concepts. For example, we’ve been studying the board structure which is a new concept for me as I’ve never worked on this before but there are people in our group that have had that direct experience of this so I can learn from them as well as the lecturers.

Jon Bradley, Senior Leader Apprentice

Jon, Senior Leader Apprentice

One of my favourite bits of the course, and the thing I most worried about, has been the webinars where we have an hour-long discussion about a particular topic. I have gained some of my biggest learning from sharing ideas with others. I’ve really enjoyed the mutual appreciation of the different knowledge and skillsets that everyone is bringing to the table. All the lecturers have been really keen to share their experience as well and it’s not always that everything was a good experience or went really well and this has been really valuable; it gives a certain credibility to the course.

I really value the mix of people that are on the course and the different skills and knowledge they bring. That broad base of experience comes from the lecturers themselves as well as other students as they all have different experiences themselves too. Utilising everyone’s experience has been a massive plus for me.

Studying a degree apprenticeship whilst working full-time certainly isn’t easy but I think it’s about getting into a rhythm and being systematic with your workload. You very quickly begin to understand how your work applies to the course so actually when it comes to your portfolio which initially looks like a big task, you quickly realise that some of your meetings and workplace duties go towards it. You’re able to apply your working life to the course and vice versa which makes it much more valuable than a traditional full-time degree.

One of the big benefits of studying a degree apprenticeship for me is that I can fit it around my job and I don’t know that I’d be able to do that with a traditional degree. I also really love the application of the knowledge, so I can take my webinar or lecture and apply it the next day or week in the workplace. I decided to accept a secondment whilst studying this course and I’ve found that I’ve already started applying modules from last term in this new role. I like that the Senior Leader apprenticeship is relevant, and I am able to apply my learning in the real world and put it into practice. It’s also given me a chance to discover that some things you learn don’t work and I’m able to find solutions and have multiple things up my sleeve whilst in the workplace.

Studying the Senior Leader apprenticeship with the University of Exeter will definitely help me with my future career aspirations. For me it is exposing me to strategic decision-making that I wouldn’t normally get in my current role, and secondly studying the course is highlighting to my employer what my ambition is. As a result of this I’m being offered more opportunities that I may not have been offered before. The course really is a stepping stone to move into senior leadership roles in the future for me and is giving me the preparation I need for this and developing me so that I’m ready for these roles.

I’ve had to use quite a lot of the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from the course in my current secondment role. I would say that this has hopefully brought benefits to the wider team. For example, I have identified that there are potential leaders in my team and they aren’t prepared for the next level and I’ve been able to use my knowledge to look at how to help them get into those roles and give them the skills they need. I’ve really looked at this quite hard as a direct result of the course; you can’t expect people to make complex decisions if you haven’t started training them so it’s giving people those skills.

I’ve had absolutely no issues studying with the University of Exeter and it has been a great experience so far. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the course but I do think people need to be aware of what they are getting into and that there is a lot of work involved but it does depend on what your end goal is.