Rebecca Kunzler gained a Distinction in her apprenticeship which is a fantastic achievement. Here she tells us about her experience as an apprentice on Watson Martin’s Level 3 Learning and Development Apprenticeship programme and becoming CIPD qualified.
Rebecca, what is your role at Domestic & General?
I’m a learning specialist across D&G’s three sites in Nottingham, Brighton and Bedworth. I carry out lots of inductions introducing new people to our products and systems and teaching them how to sell insurance compliantly and successfully. I joined 13 years ago as a contact agent and then moved around different departments within the company eventually becoming a team leader. I wasn’t really passionate about the management side of my job then but I enjoyed seeing people develop and grow which is why I moved into L&D in 2016 and have never looked back!
Why did you want to do the Level 3 L&D apprenticeship programme?
As an established learning specialist, I know the products very well and have lots of experience in delivering training but wanted to broaden my knowledge of theory. It is great to have those new skills to apply to my role here or transfer to another company if I need to in the future. The qualification aspect of the apprenticeship was very important.
How did you feel when you received a Distinction in your apprenticeship?
I was really delighted. My cohort wasn’t at the same stage, so I didn’t have anyone to compare myself to or share experiences with. I didn’t know the level I needed to be at to get a Distinction so when I saw the high grade I was absolutely surprised and thrilled.
Has the apprenticeship made a difference to your work?
I think the overall programme has made a difference to my work just because I am more aware of the training cycle and how to effectively action all its elements where I was lacking knowledge before, particularly on the evaluation side of things. So yes, the whole apprenticeship has given me a massive insight into how to ensure my work is more thorough. My role hasn’t changed but the quality of my work has improved because of the knowledge I have gained.
What skills and knowledge have you developed during your apprenticeship?
Initially I thought it would be all about the CIPD qualification. In fact, before I started the apprenticeship, I was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough new learning at work to write about in my journal as I have been at the company for so long and delivering inductions for years but this couldn’t be further from the truth! All the delivery moved online during the pandemic, so everyone is working in a different way. I had to redesign the content to make it suitable for virtual learning which was all a brand new experience for me and literally a new job! The qualification was so interesting and having this new knowledge behind me makes me a more serious and credible learning specialist.
What do you think the apprenticeship will do for your future career?
I think it will open doors in the future either within D&G where I could move into different roles or in another company. The main thing is if there is ever a shift in the organisation, the new skills I have learnt during my apprenticeship and through the qualification are transferrable so I can take them anywhere.
Was your manager supportive?
Yes, very supportive. She used to work alongside me so she knows the role and understands the expectations. She has also been through the programme and is now doing her level 5. I now have a different manager who was really pleased when I received the Distinction.
How did you manage the 20% off the job training aspect of your apprenticeship?
My time management is pretty organised and I recorded new learnings in my journal every week so was able to keep on top of everything.
How did you find the Watson Martin start up process generally?
There was a lot of information to take in at the induction webinar but it set me on the right path. My adviser Tracey Lewis was fantastic, really quick to respond and gave me great feedback. I like to be ahead of my deadlines and she really suited my style of working. There is a webinar for each unit and then I worked with my adviser to complete the assessment.
What is your top tip to others starting an apprenticeship?
I think time management is key. That was the main reason I did so well and completed everything within the time frames. Even when I was busy at work or wasn’t in the mood to do the extra studying, I just powered on and did it. For the end point assessment, I also did thorough research and made sure that I was completely confident with all the different theories and behaviours so I could just talk about them quite freely without referencing them. Putting the time in pays off.
I just really enjoyed my apprenticeship. It gave me an extra challenge which pushed me but has been so worth it. I gained so much extra knowledge and experience to progress my career. I am thankful I had the opportunity to take part in the programme.