Being an apprentice at the Together Trust: You’re never too old to learn
It’s National Apprenticeship Week this week. The annual event highlights the work being done by employers and apprentices across the UK. We had a chat with Mandy Conduit, Learning and Development Advisor at the Together Trust to tell us how we future proof our workforce through apprenticeships and the fantastic opportunities we have to upskill, regardless of whether you are at the beginning or more established in your career.
How do apprenticeships at the Together Trust work?
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding apprenticeships is that they are only available to school leavers. However, thanks to the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017 by the government, anyone aged 16 and over can be enrolled on an apprenticeship. This includes school leavers, career changers and people looking to develop their skills as part of their current job. That's why we believe that you can never be too old to begin your apprenticeship journey.
We’re very proud of all our apprentices and have colleagues across every area of the organisation, working towards an apprenticeship - social care workers, education staff, human resources team, finance department. We even have two members in the operational leadership team, working towards gaining their Master of Business Administration (MBAs)!
The list of apprenticeships is ever-expanding. We are always more than happy to discuss opportunities with every employee and use our apprenticeship levy to upskill our existing workforce who work very, very hard every day. Although realistically, we may not be able to match everybody with an apprenticeship, I'll certainly try and will keep them in mind until we find something suitable for them.
Are there any requirements to start your apprenticeship journey at the Trust?
Undertaking any professionally recognised qualifications is a big commitment and of course, requires a significant amount of work in your own time. Besides the obvious, there are a couple of unavoidable caveats too. The first one is that the desired apprenticeship programme must be in line with the employee's job role since they have to transfer what they learn during the apprenticeship within their job role.
Another requirement is to be on a permanent contract (a government condition), confirmed in post and have more than 16 hours per week, and be up-to-date with their mandatory training. Last but not least, the employee's line manager's approval is crucial too, as it will define whether the potential apprentice will be able to attend meetings, lessons and have opportunities to develop their skills within the job role. Currently, approximately 15% of the workforce are actively engaged in accredited learning, ranging from Level 2 to Level 7 qualifications.
What is your experience with apprenticeships at the Trust?
If you haven't been able to tell already, I'm very excited about apprenticeships. I have been at the Together Trust for 23 years, and I have changed my career quite dramatically, thanks to the apprenticeship opportunities I have had.
Although I was a Catering Coordinator for 12 years, I took on an apprenticeship journey within Learning and Development, which has given me broader experience and knowledge and opened my eyes to being a little more forward-thinking. My apprenticeship has come alongside professional membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). It has helped me bring in some useful insight into my work and support my colleagues to develop key knowledge and skills that are not just professionally recognised within our organisation but also outside it.