Within ASTeC, one of our members of staff currently working in the Directorate Group was able to access an apprenticeship programme in order to increase their skills in Project Management.
Liz Kennedy, who is undertaking a Level 4 Associate Project Management Apprenticeship, spoke to us about her experience and has offered some pieces of advice for anyone thinking about upskilling whilst working full-time.
Tell me a bit about your background, education and previous job experience.
I've worked at DL for just over 27 years in various administrative roles. Throughout my time with STFC I have always used my organisational, administration and communication skills and in my current role as a PA this has helped when minute taking for multiple committees, managing diaries, booking travel, placing and receipting orders and event organisation and support. The role has also given me the opportunity to work with people external to STFC both in industry and academia, in particular with all levels of staff at the CI partner establishments. I pay attention to detail in all aspects of my work and am always looking for ways to improve my performance and personal development. Throughout my working life I have taken a flexible approach and a 'can do' attitude to the various jobs I have undertaken and I enjoy being part of a team.
What 3 words would you use to describe Associate Project Management Apprenticeship?
New, challenging and interesting.
Was there anything encouraging to choose this route rather than another route such as University?
The appeal was that I could do the project work within my normal working day at the office, only occasionally having to go off-site to attend some classroom sessions. The fact that STFC have paid for the training was also a good incentive.
How do you see this apprenticeship at ASTeC benefitting your future and your career?
The training will provide me with additional skills and a qualification which will benefit me when looking for other roles within the department and organisation. I also believe that it will give me the confidence to put myself forward for activities in other groups within the department.
What are the best bits about working at ASTeC?
The people, the flexible working and the variety of work that is undertaken.
What are the top 3 things you've learned so far on your apprenticeship?
There are many aspects to project management and for me some are more enjoyable than others. Project management can be applied to a variety of activities. The apprenticeship is not just about gaining a formal qualification.
Tell me a bit about your hobbies or interests?
I am a grandparent to twins so like to spend time with them. I am interested in films, music, reading and crafts. I enjoy baking, eating out, visiting new places and having spa treatments. I regularly donate blood and have also raised ~£1200 for the Stroke Association by doing a tandem skydive.
Tell me a bit about a project you're working on.
I will be working in a large team on a big scientific conference taking place in 2020. The event will take place in Liverpool and will be attended by ~500 scientists and exhibitors. The project sponsor has given me the role of secretary to the Local Organising Committee and project support. We are in the initial stages of organisation so some of the roles are yet to be filled. The first LOC meeting will take place this week.
What is the best thing about working for a scientific organisation?
Being a part of the work that could solve some of the global challenges in a wide range of areas.
What challenges have you faced accessing the apprenticeship after working in your role for so long?
One of the biggest challenges has been to find a project that fits into the work I'm already doing.
Finally, what piece of advice would you give to someone accessing an apprentice in the way that you have?
I'd say definitely ensure you have the time to do it and that the apprenticeship you choose will benefit you and your future career.
You can find out more about apprenticeships at STFC by visiting https://tinyurl.com/ybdo6xje