Written by Wendy Spaxman, Apprenticeship Adviser at Professional Academy
To start 2021 we polled our actively studying Sales, Management, and Marketing Apprentices to ask them their thoughts on not only the key elements of Professional Academy’s apprenticeship delivery but also how they felt they were supported during the 2020 pandemic.
I think we can all agree that 2020 was a difficult year, and the challenges it presented reached all people and all businesses. We are still seeing those challenges to start 2021 but through flexibility, adaptivity, and a positive change we at Professional Academy feel like we have still been able to support learners through those challenges, including increased work pressure, uncertainty, furlough, and of course in the worst-case redundancy.
When surveyed we are happy to say that 97% of respondents felt Professional Academy supported their apprenticeship programme well throughout the COVID-19 pandemic which is an incredible testament to our support team, trainers, and mentors as well as the learners themselves who were able to continue to learn and develop during an unprecedented time.
But what did they have to say about other areas of the apprenticeship?
The first question of course must be how did they feel about quality of the actual apprenticeship content? This focuses on the quality of the standard and how relevant it has been to their job role.
“The apprenticeship has opened up new opportunities for me to progress in the workplace. It has given me confidence and the skills which have helped me to grow professionally and personally.” - Myles, Marketing Executive
“I work much better when I have the knowledge to back up what I am doing, and this course has definitely made me more confident in myself and my abilities.” - Lucy, Marketing Manager
It was of course important for us to see how they felt about the Professional Academy, and how we have supported them, especially during such a uncertain and disruptive year.
“Professional Academy have been clear and concise with what is expected of me within my course as well as providing ample amount of support documents to use to help me whilst undertaking distanced learning” - Nicole, Marketing Executive
“Professional, very supportive, act with urgency when any issues or questions need answering.” - Team Leader / Supervisor Apprentice
“Doing my apprenticeship with Professional Academy has been really helpful and enjoyable so far. All the staff are really pleasant and approachable, and the workshops have been very well structured and equally interesting to take part in.” - Millie, Marketing Assistant
Interactive eLearning, whilst always apart of all delivery, has become more integral during the pandemic especially for those furloughed and unable to apply their learning in the workplace during this time.
“eLearning is clear and easy to follow, used in addition to the workshops and tasks they add depth to your knowledge and understanding.” - Marketing Executive Apprentice
"The extra materials were very handy and allowed me to make great flashcards whilst learning in a different style to the workshops." - Mia, Marketing Executive
With the pandemic forcing workshop delivery online it was important to make sure workshops stayed engaging on virtual platforms. Trainers have been fantastically adaptive with this and continued to grow throughout the pandemic, as we come to a full year of virtual workshop our online delivery continues to improve on Microsoft Teams especially with the introduction of breakout rooms, and other supportive tools.
“Engaging and supportive workshop tutors, lots of discussions as part of the sessions, applying real life examples to the theory” - Molly, Marketing Manager
“Although I’ve never met my cohorts in person, I feel like we get on really well as a group and look forward to the workshops each month. The tutors have great knowledge and can always answer all our questions. They’re able to make it interesting and interactive although we are all apart.” - Marketing Executive Apprentice
“The workshop sessions have been really accommodating to my situation, working from home and also homeschooling and looking after a 2 year old. The sessions have been really clear and informative, and Diane has been brilliant in the sessions making us all feel at ease considering none of us have met each other as we started our apprenticeship in lockdown.” - Marketing Assistant Apprentice
Those people closest to the apprentices and helping them overcome the uncertainty and pressure the pandemic put on everyone. As you can imagine all of our learners were feeling massive amounts of stress, either personally or work wise but the mentors are always on hand not just to help them with the apprenticeship learning and provide practical advice on their skills and knowledge but also to support them and let them know things will be okay, and no time has that been more needed then during the pandemic.
“Diane Earles is amazing! She's so kind, caring and fun to work with. She is always there for me and can always answer any questions that I have and offer the best solution for my problems. SO lucky to have had her as a mentor!” - Nicole, Marketing Executive
“Very useful, a chance to ask more questions, address any concerns on 1:1 session, get update, feedback about my performance, progress so far.” - Team Leader / Supervisor Apprentice
“These are great as any questions I do have; Dawn is great at answering my questions and giving me advice and different resources to look at to help with my apprenticeship and personal growth.” - Erin, Marketing Executive
“Nina is amazing and checks up on me not only for the course but to make sure I am coping with everyday life during COVID” - Marco, Marketing Manager
2020 has been one of the most difficult years we have all faced, and whilst 2021 hasn’t started the way we had hoped there are positive signs on the horizon. Our learners, our mentors, and us as a company have been able to learn and grow during a period none of us could ever have been prepared for.
This is a good sign for the future of not just our sales, management, and marketing apprenticeships but also for the apprentices themselves. Not only did they complete an apprenticeship, but they did it during a pandemic, and that is something to be very proud of.
Get in touch with the apprenticeship team today to learn more.