Michelle Samuel is delighted with her new job as the property transformations project manager, a job that began in January and came about as a result of her apprenticeship.
With two grown-up children (one a teacher living in China, the other a 21-year-old in his last year of university), Michelle was one of a few mature apprentices commenced their journey in August 2019. However, as she admits that she is passionate about lifelong learning, this is a natural progression.
“I worked before within the resident involvement team, but I have been a teacher for adult learning, managed two children’s centres and have been a school governor for the past 10 years,” she said. “I think that’s why the apprenticeship worked for me – learning wasn’t something new to me.”
Now her day-to-day work is as part of a team of project managers, working on ensuring H&F Council continues to receive commercial revenue from its buildings.
Working from her home in Ealing, she believes the apprenticeship (which she began in August 2019) has provided her with an accredited and recognised qualification, acted as a springboard for her career and allowed her to implement the principals of project manager as part of her on the job training.
Michelle is a fan of the concept of apprenticeships for mature entrants, even though she concedes that the word ‘apprentice’ tends to conjure up images of teenagers rather than life-long learners.
Completing the apprenticeship has rewarded Michelle with a promotion. “I wanted to progress from my previous role as a community engagement officer,” she said. “I’d been in that role for five years, and it no longer presented new challenges and opportunities.”
This despite her holding a degree in management, and four Level 5 qualifications in business and training.
“An apprenticeship gets you noticed,” she said. “If you feel that you’re ‘stuck’, an apprenticeship is an excellent way of progressing.
“I wanted to gain the skills and experience to apply for project-focused roles to support career progression in H&F,” she said. “I could see the benefits that my new learning brought to the section; in my approach, communication methods, assessment, analysis, documentation and so on.”
Moving on up
She’d originally heard about the apprentice programme from a colleague who’d applied, but she learnt more from publicity in online staff communications.
She cites access to learning resources, support from a coach/mentor and the opportunity to put into practice what she has learnt as being the key benefits.
Michelle also has no hesitation about recommending the programme to others. “There are many mature students doing the same thing as me, gaining achievements and benefits,” she said.
She applied for the position of project manager in November last year and was selected for interview. Part of that was writing a briefing note for the director of education in just 30 minutes. “Had I received that task a year ago, I don’t think I’d have the experience to provide a structured response”.