Michala already had 15 years’ experience before starting a 2½ year apprenticeship at Dudley College. A year into her course, we asked her what an apprenticeship means on a day-to-day level.
Name: Michala Burgess
Current role: Customer Services Manager, Pedigree’s Midlands depot
Apprenticeship course: CMI Level 5 Management and Leadership
How did you find out about the apprenticeship?
Pedigree, my employer, offered us the opportunity to go and listen to a representative from Dudley College. Before then I hadn’t considered doing a qualification like this because of the cost involved.
What made you want to do the course?
I thought it was a really good opportunity to get a degree-level qualification. I had already done a qualification in HR to support what I do and thought I’d find this course interesting because it relates to my role. It’s easier if you’ve got a passion for what you do.
Is the course living up to your expectations?
There are some modules I like more than others, but you can’t just pick and choose, you have to cover the whole syllabus! That said, it’s definitely useful and I have learned new skills. But a lot of people signed up for the course and then quickly dropped out. I think they weren’t expecting the work involved.
How does the learning happen?
I have a tutor at Dudley College who comes to the offices to do training sessions for every course module. We’re given information in the sessions and then we go and research them further. Every module has a written element and I have to show knowledge of a particular subject and evidence of my experience. I upload my work onto Dudley College’s Smart Assessor interface, which shows me where I am on the course and how I’m progressing.
What sort of things are you learning on your course?
The first module was all about leadership; looking at aspects such as developing, managing and leading teams; assessing current and future capabilities; recruitment, mentoring and motivational techniques. The last module I did was on stakeholder management.
Has the course helped you in your role so far?
I’ve been a manager for 15 years so this course has been very good at refreshing some areas as well as learning new things. It gives an insight into other roles that use those different skills.
How big a commitment is the apprenticeship?
It’s a massive commitment! Especially in a managerial role, it’s a big distraction so you have to keep on top of it. I have to do a lot of the work in my own time. But the idea of what’s at the end of it keeps me focused.