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Pearson UK – Employing an apprentice

Natalie Grant is the senior content delivery manager and a qualified Association for Project Management (APM) project manager who decided to take on an apprentice as part of her role as team manager at Pearson UK. The experience has been rewarding for Natalie and the project manager apprentice Claire Rossiter (pictured), as well as the business.

Personal growth

Natalie has benefited in her own professional expertise and skills development by helping Claire develop: “I have been able to act as a mentor … and provide knowledge of the qualification to help apply the topics to the work environment.” Passing on knowledge and experience, as well as motivating and encouraging an individual who is new to the world of project management is rewarding when you see them thrive. An apprentice offers the opportunity for team managers to practice their soft skills, and go back to the basics and revive their knowledge alongside their apprentice who works towards their APM qualification.

At Pearson UK, many of the projects are bespoke so it can often be challenging when covering the APM topics that a project management apprentice needs for evidence, but it pushes the business, apprentice manager and project team to refresh themselves and create opportunities for the apprentice to flourish: “We have looked carefully at the topic/evidence requirements and talked through how Claire could approach this in her work environment and with her projects. We did this for earned value management (EVM) and our apprentice Claire set up a recorded conversation between two other project managers to discuss the use of EVM in the specific publishing environment in which we work.”

Team growth

As part of the programme, Claire has been working on some key digital projects for the Delivery team, “the digital request for proposal (RFP) process is unique and not a business-as-usual (BAU) project/programme that she would usually lead, however she has gained experience of how having the right project controls and governance in place; including a communications plan, RAID, RACI and agreed timelines, as well as careful management of stakeholders, is essential for the smooth set up and running of all projects.

“Claire’s confidence has increased as she has got to grips with working on these key digital projects for the Delivery team. She is now leading conversations, suggesting and initiating next steps, implementing as necessary, and progressing work with a renewed sense of self-confidence.”

Apprentices learn on the job through unique experiences that businesses can provide; it’s a big win-win for the apprentice who wants to know more and the business that can nurture this talent and fill skill gaps in the business. Claire at Pearson UK has worked so well that the delivery team often approach her with requests for resolution on supplier allocation, digital project issues and updates. She has worked hard to push herself and is now the content delivery manager.

Employing an apprentice is a rewarding experience that requires dedication from the project team and apprentice manager to guide, motivate and help them as they develop. Not only does the apprentice gain experience in a professional environment, but the project team benefits from having someone with fresh ideas; you get out what you put in and having an apprentice has certainly been worthwhile.