My experience as a Learning and Development Apprentice
Elisha Bradley is a Learning and Development Consultant/Business Partner Apprentice
I recently joined the Government Legal Department as a Learning and Development Advisor in the Early Talent Team. I moved from a very similar role in the Ministry of Justice Policy Group, where I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to begin working towards a Level 5 apprenticeship in Learning and Development. Prior to joining MoJ I worked as a history teacher in several London schools – even spending a year teaching at the British School in Riga, Latvia. Before becoming a teacher, almost every job I’ve held since the age of 16 has been related to learning!
One of the personal challenges I encountered when I left teaching for the Civil Service was that I felt like I was no longer ‘qualified’ to do anything. Being a teacher was a core part of my identity. Losing this made me feel professionally adrift, not knowing if I was good enough, or ‘qualified’ for my new role. Despite my worries, I knew that the apprenticeship’s long-term, formal learning would help me become the best L&D professional possible.
Starting the apprenticeship gave me so much more confidence that I was in the right place and on my way to being able to build a new career path.
Learning as an apprentice was a challenge to begin with. I assumed since I had a Level 7 qualification, and my apprenticeship was Level 5 that it would be ‘easy’. That certainly hasn’t been the case and initially I found it hard to adapt to the apprenticeship style of learning.
I’m neurodiverse and as a result struggled with the organisation and time management needed to balance an apprenticeship and full-time job.
However, the support from my provider has been absolutely amazing. They put a few small adjustments in place, such as sending me copies of the online learning and setting up weekly planning meetings with a learning support coach.
Another benefit of the apprenticeship is how flexible it can be. My learning is much more personalised than in any other learning environment I have previously experienced.
There are so many misconceptions about apprenticeships – that they are only for people without a degree or that once you start, you must stay in your current role. However, I’ve been able to move roles easily and will be taking a long break in May for maternity leave, confident it will be there for me to complete on my return.
I’m really looking forward to developing my skills further, especially through my research projects. These are tailored to my workplace and will be an opportunity to conduct work that will have a positive impact on my role.
Apprenticeships are an important part of GLD’s learning and development offer across professions. To find out more about government apprenticeships, please visit Apprenticeships | Civil Service Careers (civil-service-careers.gov.uk).