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Apprenticeships - Leadership is more than a game

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I didn’t see myself as management material when I arrived at the programme’s induction event at St John’s House in Bootle, Liverpool. I didn’t know what to expect. So, there I was, 24 years after leaving school, finding out I would have to complete 9 assessments of 3000 words each, numerous NVQ modules and sit exams in Maths, English and IT. I thought ‘What have I done?’

However, my fears were unfounded: Over the next 18 months, thanks to the support of my business, my manager, the course tutors and my fellow students, the programme has proved to be informative and challenging but very rewarding.

Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I thought that the course wasn’t for me. For example, when as assessment was sent back to me for a second time to do again, or when it dawned on me that an O-level pass hadn’t equipped me for making a financial case, which was the subject of another assessment. But through those trying times I knew that I wasn’t on my own, and that everyone involved wanted me to succeed.

Before I began the course, I didn’t feel that management and leading a team were my bag. I lacked confidence and didn’t know if my approach was the right one. Was I too collaborative? Did I need to be more dictatorial?

Discussions with tutors and other students proved to me that there is no right way or wrong way to lead a team, and that different circumstances require different approaches. That might seem obvious, but for somebody with limited management experience, in a department that used what I saw as a mainly dictatorial approach, it was reassuring to find out that I was already doing a lot of things right. However, I also recognised that there were aspects of my style that I needed to improve.

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