Karyn’s apprenticeship experience

Published Thursday, 11 February 2021

As part of National Apprenticeship week, we are showcasing the impact that apprenticeships have had on our colleagues and how they benefit the council.

Karyn Bacon

Karyn Bacon, a Business Systems Manager in Children’s Social Care shares her experience of both undertaking an apprenticeship and managing apprentices: 

I’ve been fortunate enough to both manage apprentices and be an apprentice myself (sometimes both at the same time). We’ve had a number of apprentices within the Business Systems Team who have all gone on to permanent positions either within my Team or another team within the Council. The contribution that these apprentices have made to my Team has been fantastic. They have shown a real thirst for knowledge and have been a great support to all the members of my Team as well as the wonderful staff we support in Children’s Services. The role of the Business Systems Apprentice is quite a technical one, however, all our apprentices have risen to the challenge and provided invaluable support which has then allowed us to further develop the systems. They quite often have a new perspective on things and can see improvements which we may not have considered. As part of these apprenticeship programme they’ve had to develop and deliver a project and the ownership of this work has really helped them build their confidence and see what a valuable contribution they can make in the Council. As a Manager, I’m a big believer in developing staff to their full potential and the apprenticeship scheme is a fantastic way to develop staff and enable them to obtain a recognised qualification for their work.

I started my first apprenticeship in 2018 when I started my CMI Level 3 in Leadership and Management. The apprenticeship was challenging, and I was amazed how much I didn’t know. The phrase “you don’t know what you don’t know” certainly applied to me. The knowledge I gained from the Level 3 apprenticeship changed my behaviours and indeed my entire mindset when approaching situations and building relationships. In 2019, the promotion that I’d previously applied for was advertised again. I applied and used the skills and knowledge that I’d learnt in my application and interview and was successful. Furthermore, after completing the Level 3 I realised why I’d be unsuccessful in gaining a promotion previously. It was a lightbulb moment. I completed my apprenticeship with a Distinction and was so grateful for all the knowledge and support I’d been provided with both from my Manager and the Adult Education Service. 

Following on from my Level 3, I was then asked if I wanted to enrol in the Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership. Knowing how valuable I’d found the Level 3 and realising that I needed to further expand my knowledge, I jumped at the chance. I’m currently completing this apprenticeship and, although it’s been a challenge in the current climate, the skills and knowledge I’ve continued to gain have really enabled me to focus on how I can manage and support my Team. 

Prior to 2018 I’d never enrolled in or completed an apprenticeship but the blended learning approach which allows me to use the skills and knowledge gained in my day-to-day job has been invaluable in my career. I would not be where I am today without the apprenticeships offered by Coventry City Council and would highly recommend an apprenticeship to anyone wishing to work for the Council as a new member of staff or progress in any career. 

Look out for further events and communications for National Apprenticeship Week on Social Media under the hashtags: #NAW2021 #BuildTheFuture

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