Four employees from Diligenta’s Liverpool Office have now successfully completed their Team Leading Level 3 Apprenticeship Development Programme despite the challenges of COVID-19 and the lockdown.

The Team Leading Level 3 Apprenticeship Development Programme is accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management and leads not only to a nationally recognised Management and Leadership Apprenticeship, but also to the additional award of the ILM Level 3 Diploma in Management.

Diligenta initially introduced this development opportunity at its Bristol office in 2018, and currently has 33 learners across 6 sites studying for the level 3 diploma. The programme equips line managers with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to successfully manage and develop a team, and is perfect for those aspiring to take on line manager responsibility as well as those who already have some experience of leading a team.

Working in partnership with Seetec Outsource, Diligenta is utilising the apprenticeship levy to transform its overall people development strategy. The business has developed and implemented a series of skills development programmes across a variety of internal occupational areas including leadership and project management, and has plans to introduce further programmes over the coming months in occupational areas such as customer servicing, business analysis, actuarial, compliance and digital support. These will drive higher standards of work-based competence and create identifiable career pathways for individuals at all levels within the organisation.

We spoke to Diligenta’s Liverpool learners to find out how they have benefitted from the level 3 team leading programme and how they adapted to changes in learning during the Covid-19 crisis.

Why did you decide to join the Programme?

Julia Wright, who works as a Quality Assurance Team Leader in the Complaints Department, explained, “I had recently been promoted to Team Leader when this opportunity came up. After speaking with my line manager, we both agreed it would be a really valuable development opportunity and would help me to learn about the role.

“I wanted to learn skills that I could use going forward, and was particularly interested in coaching and mentoring others.”

Louise Gregson is a Team Leader within the Corporate Incident Department, and has also benefitted from joining the Team Leader Level 3 Apprenticeship Development Programme.

She said, “This was an opportunity to gain additional industry recognised qualifications at no financial cost to myself. It was also a chance to develop skills relevant to my role, such as problem-solving and decision-making, which are an important part of working in Corporate Incidents.”

What have you learned and how is this helping you in your current role?

Claire Marnell is a Technical Team Leader at Diligenta. She said, “I’ve learned a lot of useful skills for leading and managing others, including communication, problem-solving and organisational skills.

“The programme has also really helped to build my confidence as a team leader. It has given me a lot more self-belief which will impact positively on all aspects of my role.”

For Julia, effective coaching is an important part of being a people manager. She said, “I’ve learned a huge amount about coaching individuals and the team. I’ve learned how to give constructive feedback which motivates others to achieve high standards.

“I’ve also learned how to deliver presentations and manage my time effectively, which are really useful skills for a team leader to have.”

Emma Bradshaw is a Customer Services Transformation Programme Analyst, focussing on business improvements and promotion of digital.

She said, “I’ve learned so much in this time, and formed lasting personal and professional relationships. The programme has opened many more doors into other areas of the business, and reinforced how working together helps us to achieve our organisational goals.”

What aspects of the programme have you enjoyed the most?

Claire and Louise have both really enjoyed attending the monthly training workshops. Louise said, “These workshops gave the four of us an opportunity to get together with Rachael, our Development Coach, and discuss how we were progressing and any problems we’d encountered.

“Quite often I walked into a workshop feeling a little unsure of myself and my ability to complete the programme, but I would leave feeling motivated and ready to move on to the next learning outcome.”

Emma and Julia have enjoyed aspects of the programme that involved working as a team, and getting to know colleagues whom they would not ordinarily have had the chance to work with.

Emma said, “We pulled each other through the programme and have supported each other in our various roles. We all have different experiences within the business, and it has been great working with and learning from the group.”

How did lockdown affect your progress?

Diligenta’s Liverpool learners were fortunate enough to be nearing the end of their programme when Covid-19 and lockdown hit, however they were forced to adapt simultaneously to a new way of working and a new way of learning, which was not without challenges.

Louise said, “Initially I struggled to give myself the time I needed to complete the learning, as I also needed to support my team while they adapted to working from home.

“Rachael, our Development Coach, really supported us though; She held regular calls to catch up and check on progress, and was always available to answer questions over email. Her support and encouragement – along with the organisation and planning skills we had developed on programme – are what helped us get back on track.”

Julia said, “It was difficult initially, as we were used to working as a team on a face-to-face basis and supporting each other, but could no longer meet to do this as a group. We each had our own projects to complete though, and Rachael continued to provide regular support through calls and emails to ensure we stayed on track for end-point assessment.”

Rachael Heller, Apprenticeship Development Coach at Seetec Outsource, was really impressed at how the team adapted to their new circumstances. She said, “It was a challenging time for our learners, but their dedication and hard work has paid off.

“I’ve really enjoyed supporting them and seeing the progress they’ve made on programme. It’s such a great opportunity for personal and professional development, and opens up so many doors for the future.”

What tips would you give to other employees who are thinking about joining the programme?

Claire, Louise, Julia and Emma all recommend the Team Leading Level 3 Apprenticeship Development Programme to anyone looking to pursue managerial professional career development opportunities. And they have a few words of advice for colleagues who are thinking of joining the programme.

“It’s important to speak to your manager in the first instance”, says Emma. “Find out how the programme will benefit you in your role.

“You should also make sure you’re prepared for the commitment. It’s hard work and requires a lot of your own personal commitment but it’s really rewarding at the same time.”

Julia’s top tip is to be as organised as possible. She says, “Make sure you utilise the time you’re allocated each week for off-the-job learning. Don’t let it all build up. That way you’ll stay on track.”

Celebrating Success

Pamela Hicks, Training Manager at Diligenta, has worked with Seetec Outsource to implement a number of learning and development programmes across the business.

She said, “Firstly, huge congratulations to Claire, Louise, Julia and Emma on their achievement. It’s wonderful news, especially so given the situation with lockdown.

“The Covid-19 situation has meant that many of our employees have made the transition from working in the office to working from home, and although they are getting more used to working remotely, it can still have its challenges. Equally, there are a number of challenges for our key workers who have been going into the office each day and still need appropriate managerial support and guidance.

“The recent changes in our working environment, whether that be at home or in the office, can have a major impact on the way in which we communicate, our individual and team delivery, our energy, the way we feel, and our motivation…plus we have had the additional worry about the health of our loved ones and ourselves. So it’s just fantastic to see how Claire, Louise, Julia and Emma have overcome these challenges to achieve their goal!”

For more information about the Team Leading Level 3 Apprenticeship please visit our dedicated programme page. Further details can be found on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Further Education website.