Diba started a Level 3 Apprenticeship Standard in Team Leading in October 2018 and successfully completed it with a Distinction from the CMI in June 2020, this is Diba’s experience.
What made you start this Apprenticeship, when did you start and how long did it take you?
I recognised that I wanted to develop myself whilst remaining in full time work. I had read an article about the new apprenticeship levy which was being introduced and did some research on apprenticeships that I could undertake. There was lots of information available but it was quite hard to find out how I could actually start one. That is when I contacted Loretta and asked to meet with her to discuss me starting an apprenticeship. I started in October 2018 and took my last assessment in June 2020. Covid-19 caused a bit of a delay as my workload increased significantly however the flexibility afforded to me was excellent, I simply went through the gateway when I was ready, with no pressure or stress.
What was your Apprenticeship journey like?
When I first met with Loretta she kindly explained the process and how the University can facilitate apprenticeships. We identified which type would suit me most in my role and we then narrowed it down to a few options for me to consider. I then chose a preferred sector and Loretta came and presented this to myself and my manager. We agreed how I could gain the experience required to meet the course as well as how my office would benefit from me gaining this qualification. My manager supported me throughout the process, often allowing me study time to finish the assignments. My colleagues were also very supportive and were understanding of my additional workload. The main course was delivered at Canterbury College over fortnightly visits for approximately 1 year, I often stayed for an extra hour to finish off my notes.
What was the End Point Assessment like – what was your outcome?
The endpoint assessment was always planned to be virtual and given that we are currently experiencing Covid-19 it was the only thing that hadn’t changed! I felt much more comfortable with video calls as I had been doing them for months by this stage so that was a bonus in terms of confidence. The exam was online; my assessor at College had me share my screen with her and also have the video turned on so she could invigilate me. It was very formal but at the same time, I know Antonia well so it wasn’t daunting at all. I did a multiple-choice exam and scored 96.7%.
My results came through instantly which is another confidence booster before the interview the following week. I completed the interview via a video call with an assessor from CIM whom I had not met before. It was very serious but she was friendly and explained the process fully. She asked me approximately 12 questions about my skills and knowledge. She then asked 3 or 4 questions about the CPD Log I submitted as part of my course. A CPD log documents all training and activities I have carried out throughout the duration of the apprenticeship. I would 100% recommend completing this as you go along as it was quite a task to complete it retrospectively. After the interview, I was told it would take 15 working days for my final result to come through. The weighting was: Portfolio – 20%, Structured Competency-Based Interview – 30%, CPD Discussion – 20% and Portfolio 20%.
My overall grade was a Distinction.
How do you feel? What are you doing next?
I feel proud that I have completed the apprenticeship, gaining a distinction, whilst continuing full-time employment. It has given me a sound understanding of how to be a leader and I learnt a wide variety of skills throughout it. Throughout the course I was utilising my new skills and knowledge by implementing changes to improve how I led projects and situations at work. I gained confidence in my own abilities from this apprenticeship and recently applied for a new job, I was successful and I am soon going to be the Assistant Accommodation Manager at an accommodation provider in Canterbury. I will continue my progression and am very excited to be in a role where I can fully utilise my skills so soon.
What is your advice to others? And if there anything else you would like to add or say about your Apprenticeship experience.
I would reiterate my point about starting the CPD log and keeping it going throughout. Had I spent just 10 minutes a week jotting down the things I had done it would have been much easier at the end. I would really recommend requesting a chat or video call with Loretta, even if it is just to discuss your development. She will be able to identify suitable opportunities for you which you may not know are out there.
I would recommend anyone who wants to further themselves to take this opportunity and put in maximum effort to get the result you feel you deserve. I had to be incredibly resilient and manage my time effectively to stay on track to meet deadlines, especially when my workload was increasing. It was often a case of juggling lots of different things but the team at College and my colleagues were so supportive. After each lesson or class, I would recommend making notes about the assignment and how you will answer each criteria. This means when you revisit these notes you will have a great structured answer and just need to add detail. It is also great to do this as your tutor can comment and make sure you are on the right track.
I would recommend communicating with your manager when you need some additional time in advance of needing it! It was much easier for my manager to support me when I emailed him with a request for time and 4 potential dates over the next month, he then chose the most suitable date and I would sit in a quiet office at work for 3 hours and finish an assignment.
Overall I think it is fantastic that as employees we can benefit from this level of education for free and also how much we are supported throughout it. I was offered the use of a laptop and as Canterbury College is local I faced no additional personal costs, apart from the odd coffee from the College Coffee Shop.
If you would like more information about the range of fully funded Apprenticeships,
please contact your Employee Apprenticeship Manager Loretta Izod via MS Teams or email to arrange a meeting.