1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I performance manage a team of Training and Development Officers who deliver apprenticeships in management. I performance manage the team against individual and team KPIs. I am responsible for my team's performance and their caseload. On a daily basis I run and check reports related to all aspects of a learner's journey, reflected in the Training and Development Officer's caseloads. I am also responsible for the HR functions of my team, for example tracking and approving annual leave and expenses.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
On my apprenticeship I have learnt many new skills, including time management, and in particular how to use prioritisation techniques to assist with managing my time effectively and efficiently. I have also learnt about decision making and problem solving techniques, such as using weighted grids, which have enabled me to make informed decisions. Furthermore, I have learnt about leadership and management styles and theory, which have helped in my understanding of managing a team and team dynamics.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am really enjoying my programme. It is challenging in a number of ways. Firstly, finding the time to do complete the work, which fully utilises the time management and prioritisation techniques I have learnt. Also, writing in an academic style, including using Harvard referencing, after not having to do this for a while, was a good challenge to overcome. However while challenging, it is worth the challenge, as the feeling of achievement if high when tasks or assignments are successfully completed.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is very well structured. Following an induction session, there has been a classroom session which introduces the next topic every six weeks. In between the classroom sessions work is set to gather evidence to cover knowledge and to cover skills. The final element of the programme is a project, which lasts for the final six months of the course. During this time we will be offered workshops to cover the End Point Assessment process in more detail.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive good support from my employer. I am supported in the completion of my Off the Job Training Hours, and my manager is including in twelve weekly reviews with me and my Training and Development Officer. I also update my manager with my progress on the programme during my monthly performance reviews. If I need any support, for example, access to any reports or people that do not normally fall within my remit, my manager will assist me with this.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I receive a lot of support from my Training and Development Officer. They run the induction session and the classroom sessions, and prior to each classroom session they will email out pertinent resources that we may need. I will then have an individual visit with my Training and Development Officer in between each classroom session, and I also have a review every twelve weeks with my Training and Development Officer and my manager. I feel I can email my Training and Development Officer at any time if I required any further support of if I had any questions.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My level 5 Operations Departmental Manager qualification is extremely relevant to my role as a Performance Manager. This qualification has really helped my with my own self awareness and time management, and then has helped me with techniques to manage my team. It has also given me tools to assist me in my daily work, for example decision making tools. Furthermore, it has helped me understand operational management, including how to put together a business case and how to write an operational plan.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
At work I can get involved in voluntary initiatives - I have taken part in the Give a Day of Your Time scheme, where I organised for my team and I to run the lunch service at a homeless shelter. There is a social media forum for sharing such volunteering or social activities. Most employees work remotely, and are widespread across the country and do not attend an office on a daily basis, so the chance for socialising outside of work is limited.
9a. Would you recommend Interserve to a friend?
The apprentice journey has been organised and fun from the start. I have learnt so much from my professional and knowledgeable Training and Development Officer. The fact that you are encouraged to work independently really suits me, however it is comforting to know that if support is required that it is there for me. It has been great meeting fellow managers on this course also. The apprenticeship is having a positive direct impact on my role.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Interserve?
Do not hesitate to apply. Make sure you talk your intentions through with your manager first, and ensure that they are fully supportive of you undertaking an apprenticeship, as they will need to support you in taking the Off the Job Time time (and the 'space' ie quiet, undisturbed space to do this). Be prepared to have to work hard, and undertake independent research. However it will be worth it as you will learn so much.