To mark National Apprenticeship Week 2020, we swap recruiters for apprentices in our regular series, Recruiters In Cars Getting Coffee, and speak to Group Training Director Matthew Leavis and Senior Marketing Executive Ben Taylor about their respective apprenticeship experiences.
Matthew Leavis has been with Morson since 2013, setting up and growing the Morson Training division. Starting his career as a rail apprentice, along the course of his career has undertaken a wealth of additional training to help develop his career.
Ben started at Morson in 2017 as a Graphic Designer and in late 2019 started a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship to further develop his career within the business.
In part two, they discuss the pros and cons of the ILM course and the real tangible benefits of choosing the apprenticeship route over a traditional degree.
Matt: About two years into working at Morson I did a Level 3 Apprenticeship with ILM, the Leadership & Management course. It was my first look into studying leadership and management, motivational theory, those sorts of things. As a business unit leader building a team around me, I did think it was important to get that knowledge and understanding. I did it over an 18-month period. It was a really good experience and from that I looked at the Level 5 programme. Then the Apprenticeship Levy got introduced to try and incentivise organisations to put existing staff through further education.
Ben: It’s interesting that you should mention the ILM because that was suggested to me at first, but for me that didn’t feel right. I wasn’t really looking to go into leadership and management. As I said about all apprenticeships, make sure it’s the right thing for you to do. For me I would much rather have the skill in digital marketing to make myself more rounded. Then, if I wanted to go up into management, I’d look at the ILM. At this stage, it seemed silly to go into management when I didn’t know what all the team was doing.
Matt: See, when I was doing the ILM, I was already managing the team and thought that maybe some of the skills I might have lacked were some of the more leadership-focused interpersonal skills, coming from an operational background. I was a welding engineer by trade with Network Rail. I worked for them for 11 years. They have a good background in helping people progress and promoting from within. I spent months in their training schools but from there I wanted to do more. I’ve always been ambitious. The skills you can transfer are passion and enthusiasm and I certainly had those. It’s probably the engineer in me that’s helped because I always want to know how things work.
Ben: Yeah absolutely. Like taking apart toys when you’re a kid. I used to do that.
Matt: One of the biggest things for me is that affirmation of what you’re doing. How long did you have to wait before you could apply what you were doing in a degree?
Ben: While I was doing my degree, I was always doing freelance graphic design on the side. I still didn’t get a job in marketing. Morson was my first job in marketing. When I finished university, I took six months out for a gap year travelling and after I got back I worked in a call centre for two years. It was still two years before I could apply myself. I’ve always loved freelance but it’s very different from working in a corporate business. The skills I’ve learned from Morson have included working with people and working within a corporate business. Even the way you speak to people, how you structure an email!
Matt: I really do hope that going forward we can only increase the number of apprentices that we have and the number of qualifications we can do. I can only see it going up.
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