Our congratulations go to Steph Dunne who will soon complete her Level 5 Apprenticeship programme in HR. A Finance and HR Manager at the City of Norwich School since 2017, Steph has already achieved the CIPD qualification element of the apprenticeship with Watson Martin having recently received her Intermediate Certificate in HRM. She is due to complete the full apprenticeship programme with Let Me Play (LMP), a national training organisation that works with schools, by the end of the year.
A RoATP* main provider since January 2018, Watson Martin works with levy paying organisations and individuals to deliver a complete end-to-end apprenticeship package in HR and L&D. We also work in partnership with other training providers such as Let Me Play to deliver the CIPD qualifications associated with Levels 3 and 5 Apprenticeship programmes.
Steph is our first apprentice to achieve her CIPD qualification and here we ask about her experience of the two year programme.
Why did you want to do an HR Level 5 Apprenticeship?
Having gained a degree in Business Administration, my career moved in a finance direction so I didn’t have much HR experience. I needed a qualification to help build foundations in HR so I could do both functions of my job well. I have had a very steep learning path over the last three years but have really grown into the role.
How does the programme work?
It’s a two-year process. There are six modules to gain the CIPD Intermediate Certificate and they all feed into the apprenticeship framework so it all works very well together. I have regular LMP assessor meetings as well as sessions with my Watson Martin adviser Elaine Wood to support my CIPD assignments.
What support did you receive?
My adviser Elaine was great and really held me to account which is what I needed to make sure I handed my assignments in on time. She has some experience of working in education which was really helpful as she understood my environment. It was reassuring to have her support and feedback on my work.
Were the workshops and online materials useful?
I really enjoyed the workshops with Watson Martin. I was in a cohort with a mix of candidates and it was good to talk to people outside of education to learn about both the challenges and similarities. The VLE and online materials were excellent and very helpful.
How have you managed during the pandemic which has been particularly challenging for schools?
It has been a difficult year for education and I found myself busier during lockdown working at home than I had been at school. There were more issues to deal with and we had to carry out our recruitment remotely. Line managing a team of three from home was not easy but we got through it.
How did you manage the 20% off the job training aspect of your apprenticeship?
I found it difficult to study at work so I tended to do my assignments at home. My employers gave me the support I requested including attending all the workshops and assessor meetings which were during normal work time. I was also able to take the lead on projects and be included in some meetings which I would not normally attend to gain experience.
What skills and knowledge have you developed both during your apprenticeship and from gaining the qualification?
The whole package works well. It has built my confidence in dealing with people issues. Colleagues trust my answer because they know I now have the HR knowledge and experience. I was quite a resilient person anyway and this has increased during the apprenticeship. I have gained new skills and knowledge that make it easier for me to do my job to a high standard.
What do you think the programme will do for your future career?
When you make the decision later in life to study it is because you are working towards a very specific goal. For me, the programme was all about supporting my career and my current work. I wanted to tailor my education to my own career path.
What are your career aspirations?
Being CIPD qualified provides a certain amount of gravitas and credibility which will support my career. I see the programme opening doors for me in the future both in the public and private sectors. In the past I would only be able to look at finance-based positions but now HR is a more logical career route for me to follow.
A real star!
Elaine Wood, Steph’s personal adviser, says:
Steph has been extremely focused on her studies during a difficult period and achieved success. Her assignments were always interesting to read and of a high standard relating academic principles and practices well to her day job and organisation.
Stephanie has grown in her HR knowledge and expertise over the duration of her apprenticeship programme, she is always pleasant to deal with, keen to learn and dedicated to her profession – a real star!”
* RoATP – Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers