To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, I’ve been catching up with colleagues at SBG who are currently studying for apprenticeships to share their experiences and how it’s helped them grow within their role.
To kick us off, I chatted with Scott Curson, People Experience Manager, who began a Level 5 HR apprenticeship last year to further his personal development. I was keen to know why he wanted to study something so specialised to the role he’s doing.
WHY THIS PARTICULAR COURSE?
Scott: Being in a people role, I really wanted to continue my own learning and development, and growth in role. I was probably about 6 months in when I decided this was the right course for me and it felt like the right time to do it, being reasonably new to role.
Also, on the flip side there was that part of me that really wanted to gain a professional qualification, it was something that personally I really wanted to do, and a goal I’d set myself. The beauty of the course I’m doing is there’s the HR consultant part but I also can gain a CIPD level 5 qualification which is something really good for me to have on my CV as a professional qualification.
WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST INTERESTING PART OF THE COURSE?
Scott: There’s quite a few. When I was thinking about this it was quite hard to pin down just one. I’ve really enjoyed and been able to take a lot from the module on Organisational Development. Again, that came at a really good time with all the Future Ways of Working work that we’ve done as a business throughout the pandemic so that was quite useful.
Then MI & Tech – I’m quite a data geek so that’s been really good, especially in my role. As an example I’ve been getting my head into what our people are saying so again that module helped.
Then definitely the HR technical expertise, you absolutely need that in this role. Prior to that I was a people manager for 8 years so again some of the more in-depth employment law study has been very useful again.
TALK TO ME ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY YOUR TRAINING PROVIDER USES. DID YOU HAVE WHAT YOU NEEDED TO BE SUCCESSFUL?
Scott: Yes, my provider is BPP and the course itself has always been fully remote. They did a really good job at getting everything online for us quickly. The learning platform is called VLE and it’s really easy to navigate. I’m the only learner from SBG on this course so we created a WhatsApp group with all the other learners from across the country and that’s been really good as a support network.
It’s just what we’re used to by now I suppose, doing things differently but we have our own network where we’ll check in on each other and make sure everyone is getting on ok with a particular module or assignment.
Another thing that’s been helpful has been getting access to the CIPD online resources as a CIPD member and the articles, blogs and content have been really useful to my learning journey.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE QUANTITY OF WORK YOU HAVE TO COMPLETE FOR YOUR APPRENTICESHIP? WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN IT FEELS TOO MUCH?
Scott: The work definitely fluctuates across the course. Some modules have been large pieces of work, you could have a 5,000 word assignment to do whereas others have been smaller. Being flexible as modules progress and understanding what’s required of me for that module is key.
Balancing learning and development with our own area’s busy periods can also be challenging and that goes for everyone across the business. Using People Check Ins for us as an example, it’s a huge pull on our time so me being flexible in my approach is key. If you need to flex your time, don’t beat yourself up. As a fast paced business and a week where I might not get as much done is ok because I know in a few weeks’ time there’ll be the chance for me to do a bit more.
Each module is about 6 weeks long so I like to plan my time and try to commit to that time. I’ll always speak to my manager and key stakeholders and they’ll support me to get it done. I’m a big believer that with anything like this, you get out what you put in.
TELL ME ABOUT THE KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND BEHAVIOURS YOU HAVE TO DEMONSTRATE FOR THE HR LEVEL 5 COURSE AND WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE IN PRACTISE.
Scott: For each module which will have a written assignment which is the CIPD element and then the skills and behaviours which is the apprenticeship element. This is usually a topical discussion or in a written format. It’s all about demonstrating your learning in practice and reflecting on your day to day role.
So, what did I do? What was the outcome? What did I learn from it? I’ve actually found the Skills and Behaviours element to be the easiest part of the assessment. Because my job is so varied, I’ve never been short of examples and it’s really shown that it’s been the right course for me.
WHAT’S THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D SHARE WITH ANYONE CONSIDERING AN APPRENTICESHIP?
Scott: The commitment piece is huge for me. Make sure it’s right for you and you have that natural motivation so do your research, have those conversations and make sure it’s the right course for you as it’ll be a pull on your time but what you get out of it is brilliant. Going back to what I said earlier too, flexibility is key!