WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE LEAP MANAGING A TEAM APPRENTICESHIP?
My apprenticeship journey has been quite unique. The fast-track management programme gave me the opportunity to work on my LEAP (Learn and Earn Apprenticeship Programme) Managing a Team apprenticeship and gain on-the-job experience across three TP brands. My final stint was at Keyline’s Leeds branch and I absolutely loved working there. On completion of my apprenticeship, I was thrilled that the Branch Manager asked me to stay on and be a permanent member of the team.
The apprenticeship was a real learning curve and I feel it has opened up so many doors for me. At university, the topics you learn aren’t always directly applicable to the world of work and the apprenticeship exposed me to things like operational management, sales strategies and self-development that are so useful to what I do now. I feel the apprenticeship has expanded my skillset in terms of managing and supporting a team and delivering quality service to customers.
FOR ANYONE LOOKING TO TAKE ON A SIMILAR ROLE, CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT THE LEAP MANAGING A TEAM APPRENTICESHIP ENTAILS?
One of the first things I did as an apprentice was a psychometric test, to find out what my strengths and weaknesses are and how I work with others. It has made me more self-aware and given me valuable insight into how I interact with colleagues in the workplace. It has also helped me to recognise techniques for getting the best out of other people.
I completed hands-on monthly training workshops – and was expected to carry the learnings from these over into my day-to-day role. I also had to produce a learning log which acts as evidence that you are applying what has been taught.
I was also given specific tasks and projects to complete at work. The apprenticeship is really flexible, and assignments are tailored to different roles to make them relevant and achievable.
To assess progress, every apprentice has to submit their learning log and complete a multiple-choice test. I also had a competency-based interview with someone from the Chartered Management Institute.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR APPRENTICESHIP AND ROLE AS ASSISTANT BRANCH MANAGER AT KEYLINE?
The apprenticeship has given me valuable insight into theories and ways of working that I had never thought of before. During my apprenticeship I worked with others from across the TP group – hearing how best practice is achieved across different parts of the business has helped to shape my own approach. I feel I am now equipped to support a team and ensure customers’ needs are always met.
Keyline has opened the door to so many opportunities for me; I recently took up the role of Assistant Branch Manager at the Newcastle branch and I apply the knowledge I learnt from my apprenticeship every day.
Every day is different, and I love being involved in a wide range of functions including sales, transport, management, branch compliance, stock control and accounting. I work closely with the Branch Manager to make sure we draw on my strengths and work together as a cohesive team to deliver quality service to customers.
In branch, there is a real team spirit, and everyone works together – and learns from one another – to deliver the best service we can.
HOW HAS THE APPRENTICESHIP COURSE SHAPED YOUR APPROACH TO YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
I would say the apprenticeship has really boosted my development and made me a more rounded, mature individual. I have a much better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses, and I have altered my outlook to see feedback as an opportunity to grow and improve.
I also have a much better understanding of TP and Keyline and how it operates, as well as my individual role as Assistant Branch Manager – and this insight has helped me to improve the quality of service I offer customers. I know how a branch should be run and I am confident when ensuring tasks can be achieved within a certain time frame, with health and safety requirements being adhered to. This keeps the branch running efficiently and ensures we can manage customer expectations.
WERE THERE ANY CHALLENGES OR MISCONCEPTIONS THAT THE APPRENTICESHIP HAS HELPED YOU OVERCOME?
When people think of apprentices, they often think of someone who is just starting out – but at Keyline, that’s not always the case. There are many different levels to an apprenticeship and my LEAP Managing a Team apprenticeship has given me an extra qualification that I can use to progress.
As a young woman working in the construction industry, I often find that I can be the only female in the room – which can be daunting – but my apprenticeship has given me confidence in myself and my role. This will only increase the longer I work in the industry and build my experience further.
WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE LESSON YOU FEEL YOU'VE LEARNED SINCE STARTING YOUR APPRENTICESHIP?
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes or things don’t go in the direction you hoped. You have to be resilient to things that do not go to plan and learn from these experiences.
I have also learnt not to run before I can walk. A branch environment can be demanding, and it requires experience and knowledge of a wide range of topics – and this simply can’t be learnt over night. I am driven to progress, but I also know that I need to do the groundwork first to build knowledge. I try to go in with an open mind and be curious.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THE LEAP MANAGING A TEAM APPRENTICESHIP TO ANYONE ELSE LOOKING TO FURTHER THEIR CAREER AT KEYLINE?
Yes, definitely. I think it is important for anyone (no matter their job title) to strive to learn more and continue training throughout their career. A lot of people within senior roles at Keyline have completed apprenticeships on their way to the top – which just proves how valuable training can be.
My LEAP Managing a Team apprenticeship has helped me to get to where I am now, and it has pushed me to deliver quality service and be the best that I can be in my role.