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12 February 2023 by Gemma Newby
Gemma Headshot

As the sun sets on #naw2023 it has been an opportunity to review and reflect on progress, both as a company but also for me personally.

As a company, during 2022 we have had 2 people finish their apprenticeships, Sean in Business Admin and Recruitment Resourcing, I am delighted the timing was right to celebrate Fenton’s distinction this week. Sean is intending to embark on a finance-based apprenticeship during 2023 which we are excited to see. We have started 2 new entry level apprentices on Level 2 Recruitment Resourcing courses and 2 existing employees have started their apprenticeships. We heard from Lydia earlier in the week but in case you missed it, her Level 3 Marketing course is well under way and you can read about how she is feeling here: ( Lydia's Blog) and in June 2022 I started Level 7 Senior People Professional Apprenticeship alongside the CIPD Level 7 Strategic People Management qualification. This is just our employees, we have also got 27 trainees and apprentices earning and learning out in the world of infrastructure, aviation and defence, working their way through various programmes to help bridge the skills gap for the future and to also support communities local to our projects and our clients’ projects. We are more than just an agency, and this is one way in which we "redefine recruitment."

For my course, it’s a fairly gruelling (as you would expect at that level) 3 year programme, at times it is relentless in it’s demands and finding the time to put the hours in can be stressful it’s fair to say. However, it helps me to authentically empathise with those undertaking apprenticeships throughout MPI and means I have some personal experience that I can draw on to help them balance their own journey. Plus, there are all the benefits of extending my knowledge and experience too, it really does make you consider the opportunities for improvement across not only your own areas of responsibility but the wider business too.

It may seem odd to some people that at my stage of life and in my position within MPI that I would want to do an apprenticeship. For me, I left school at 16, did a Level 2 business administration course at college and then essentially joined MPI at 18 years and 2 months old as an Administrator on the aviation side of the business. At the time, apprenticeships weren’t available in the way there were years ago or indeed the way they are now, yet, with MPI I can see that I essentially went through an unofficial apprenticeship that has taken me to where I sit now, which is essentially trying my best to ensure that everyone has everything they need and as much of what they want as I can possibly achieve not just for our employees but also for our Contractors, Clients and Suppliers too.

I felt that I wanted to underpin my work experience with formal learning and qualifications and knew that it would benefit MPI too, so I looked at apprenticeship options. Taking an apprenticeship meant that the cost would be covered by the Levy fees MPI pays anyway, it would not mean losing me from the business in anyway, I hoped it would inspire our employees to consider opportunities that they too could benefit from by taking apprenticeship courses and it would demonstrate MPI’s commitment to investing in our employees learning and development which they have told us is important to them.

Also and importantly for me, I wanted to show my children that you are never too old to learn and whilst the brain might require some early exercise to get it back in the learning zone, it can be done and the benefits of challenging yourself to try something new or different can bring increased confidence, some vulnerability and a new zest for life all of which will help with resilience and determination in hard times .I personally believe that resilience and determination alongside consistency, commitment and kindness are essential for navigating the storm we call life.

So, ditch the myths and have a think about what are your personal views and aspirations with regards to learning and development, are there areas you would like to consider doing an apprenticeship in, do you feel able to ask your employer? Or as a leader, are you encouraging learning and development in your organisation, are you making the best use of your levy pot to upskill your workers, how would offering an apprenticeship demonstrate to your employees that you see them and believe in them and how would the benefit your organisation? Remember, they are open to anyone of any age and at any stage of their career and if you need a little encouragement, you know where to find me (probably trying to write an assignment whilst cooking dinner and on the phone to someone – just kidding, I rarely cook – I know my limitations)!