Special focus: Apprentices - my story
Posted by Kirsten on 4th Jul 2017
Amy Brown, 19 years old, Project Management Apprentice
Why did you decide to do a Project Management apprenticeship?
The first step for me was making the decision that I did not want to attend University. Whilst I left school with successful A-Level grades I knew that the university route was not for me and I was extremely enthusiastic to explore other opportunities. I chose an apprenticeship instead of going to university as the idea of earning a salary, gaining an industry-recognised qualification and learning on-the-job thoroughly excited me. Project Management stood out to me as not only are the skills incredibly transferable but being able to plan and execute work within a team to achieve specific goals seemed like something I would definitely enjoy doing. It would enable me to get a true insight in to the management of a wide range of projects and programmes.
What has been your experience of the scheme so far?
At the age of 18, having just finished A-Levels, the reality of having to face out and step in to the big wide world was a scary one but what a fantastic journey it has been so far thanks to Lloyds Banking Group’s amazing apprenticeship scheme. From the moment I started I have felt a valued member of every team. Every colleague has shown me support and spent time to ensure I am learning at every step of the way. I have had the opportunity to experience communicating and engaging with key stakeholders and listening to best practice advice to help aid my development. The scheme is well structured to ensure I have the opportunity to explore many different areas within my organisation to support my apprenticeship criteria and allow me to continually build upon my knowledge.
What projects are you working on and which skills are you learning?
I have been lucky enough to explore different projects, from Ring-Fencing to co-managing colleague events. Throughout my different placements I have continued to improve my communication skills – communication is a key skill as around 90% of a project managers time is spent communicating. The scheme has enabled me to learn impressive leadership skills as well as teaching me the key principles of how to manage my own time effectively. In addition to these skills, I am learning the skills of forward-planning, problem-solving and risk management.
How have you managed to combine work and study?
I ensure that I dedicate myself half-a-day a week of study time where I will really focus on evidencing my criteria with the work that I have completed throughout the week. Alongside this I ensure that when I am completing work I save any useful documents/screenshots to a folder which I can then refer back to when I have my study time. For this aspect of the apprenticeship your organisation skills really shine through and you have to be disciplined to manage your own time to ensure you effectively plan your days to fit into your working diary.
What are the benefits of the scheme?
There is a whole long list of the benefits of this scheme but a few that stand out for me are experience, opportunity and networking.
- Experience – a key benefit is being able to have on-the-job experience which is so valuable, especially within a large and highly well recognised organisation.
- Opportunity - the opportunity to be part of an ever-changing company that has multiple business areas and continuous jobs to explore.
- Networking – being able to engage and network with a vast amount of experienced colleagues enabling you to learn and build relationships with key stakeholders.
Would you have considered becoming a project manager if it hadn’t been for the Project Management Apprenticeship scheme?
Maybe in the future I would have considered becoming a project manager but never did I ever imagine at the age I am I would be on this path. Firstly, without the Project Management Apprenticeship Scheme I would not have known how to begin to pursue a career in the Project Management field and in addition may never have even explored Project Management as an option for me.
I feel extremely proud to be part of Lloyds Banking Group’s Project Management Apprenticeship scheme and I am really looking forward to my development journey. I would thoroughly recommend this scheme to anyone with enthusiasm, anyone eager to learn and explore your interest in Project Management.
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The good news is that, now more than ever, there are options to progress and excel in project management.
Back when I was a student apprenticeships were viewed as the "non-academic" option but times have changed and they can now lead to degree-level qualifications and higher accreditation, eventually, such as chartered status.
APM’s briefing on T-Levels gives an overview of progress, the revised timescales and the opportunities to develop project management as a vocational qualification.