As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we are posting daily blogs profiling INLOGOV’s Senior Leader Apprenticeship. You can find the first two posts here and here. Today we hear from a recent graduate Richard Baldwin and his experience of campus life as a public servant.
I was lucky enough to be offered a place on INLOGOV’s Senior Leader Apprenticeship back in September 2019. I have 20 years local authority experience under my belt, and although I had undertaken a little continued professional development, it had been some time since any formal academic learning. Apprehensive but armed with a new pukka pad I attended the first lectures at the University of Birmingham with colleagues from across the country and from across all walks of local authority life.
The on-campus learning days in Birmingham were both enlightening and relevant with useful case studies and guest speakers. Although the academic learning was, at times, hard going, there was always a check back with how the theory translates to real life practice. One particular benefit of the on-campus days, as well as the opportunity to feel like a student again, was Joe’s Bar in the Guild of Students!
When Covid hit in March 2022 all learning switched to on-line, which took some adapting to, but I must say the University were great in their flexibility, with lectures recorded so that you could engage with the learning when it suited you. Although the day job ramped up considerably as I was pulled into various Covid response functions, conversely my social life dipped due to lockdown, meaning that there was little else to do than University reading and finishing off assignments.
I would whole-heartedly recommend the apprenticeship. The partnership of INLOGOV, the University of Birmingham and the Chartered Management Institute works well, with a wealth of material delivered by highly knowledgeable lecturers. Learning content was well paced, with both your academic and personal tutors steering you through the ups and downs. Being able to share ideas, challenges and best practice with others from across the country and different areas of local government services has also been a great element of the course. The way in which you build a portfolio of evidence is structured so that you can use examples from work and once you get into the routine of recording the evidence it’s not overly onerous. One particular tip would be to make sure that you reference as you go, saving hours of rereading to find out where you got a quote that you want to use.
All that said, I would warn any new recruits that it’s hard work, you must have a supportive employer and line manager, you must be organised and disciplined from the outset and must have the support of your family. It is however, well worth the effort!!
Richard Baldwin is Assistant Manager for Leisure, Sport and Wellbeing at Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils. He was an INLOGOV Senior Leaders Apprentice 2019-2021.