National Apprenticeship Week, Build the Future – Rebecca Macdonald

Rebecca has worked at Specsavers for several years as a Learning & Development Specialist, to help prepare her for the next steps in her career she decided to complete an apprenticeship alongside her day-to-day role. Read on to find out all about her experience.

When did you first start your apprenticeship?
I started my apprenticeship in February 2021. I had been working at Specsavers as an L&D Specialist for several years and was looking to develop my skills in consultancy to prepare me for the next steps in my career. I discovered that you could do an apprenticeship alongside your normal role and thought it sounded like a fantastic idea.

How did you find the apprenticeship overall?
It’s been fascinating to hear about how Learning & Development functions operate in other businesses, learn about the history of L&D and discuss best practice across the industry. I’ve made new connections with professionals in other businesses and grown my network. It was a struggle at first to get back into essay and report writing! There are a lot of assignments and juggling those with day to day work was more challenging that I anticipated, however being strict with my time and blocking out days to study has really helped.

What help was available to you?
My managers and teammates have been incredibly supportive. They’ve allowed me the time to study, discussed the topics with me when I need ideas and been eager to hear what I’m learning. My manager has attended all of my 121’s with my apprentice coach to make sure that he’s up to date with my progress and knows where I might need support. My fellow apprentices in my cohort have been great at coaching me when needed and offering support. My apprenticeship facilitator is also always available and has provided me with regular feedback, so I’m reassured that I’m on the right track.

How do you think this apprenticeship differs from others?
It’s being conducted 100% virtually, which is new for the facilitators as they’ve always previously been face to face. This has brought some challenges but mostly has been extremely convenient and meant that there was no disruption to our learning.

What does the future hold for you now?
I’ve recently been promoted internally to a new role which allows me to put into practice my new consultancy skills. So, my future will be settling into that new role and continuing to develop. I’m really grateful to Specsavers for supporting me in my development and for the opportunities I’ve been able to experience.

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