Vertas Group is pleased to champion this year’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) theme, Skills for Life, highlighting its commitment to investing in people and promoting lifelong learning.
In line with maintaining a culture where people remain central to the business, Vertas Group are pleased to acknowledge the company’s success is intricately tied to its colleague’s well-being, growth, and satisfaction. Therefore, as employers, the Group are keen to invest in apprenticeships, fostering a skilled workforce and exemplifying its unwavering commitment to putting people first.
The Group strives to provide lifelong learning opportunities to new recruits and those further along their career paths, colleagues can benefit from mentoring, blended learning, and support to gain further professional qualifications and/or chartership.
In recognition of NAW, we caught up with Shawnie Smith, Key Client Account Manager, to provide an insight into how completing an apprenticeship has helped shape her career. Shawnie recently completed her apprenticeship with Babcock Training/Inspiro Learning and excelled, achieving a distinction.
Congratulations on achieving a distinction – that’s no easy feat! Can you tell me a bit about where you were in your career when you started your apprenticeship, and what motivated you to do it?
I began my ILM Level 3 Diploma for Managers apprenticeship in March 2022. At the time, I had held the position as an Account Manager for two years, and due to my career-driven nature, I wanted to enhance my skill set and knowledge to take the next step in my career. My managers recommended the course, and it was the perfect opportunity to develop myself and broaden my capabilities within the Property Management Team. I enjoy a challenge and gain satisfaction supporting others in the team, and the apprenticeship provided all the necessary experience and qualifications to deliver that.
What have you learned throughout your apprenticeship and how has that helped you in your day-to-day role?
Towards the end of my apprenticeship, I received a promotion to Key Client Account Manager. Thanks to my course, I was more confident and capable of performance management methods and techniques. I was now aware of how to deliver operational plans for the team with agreed time scales and budgets and could identify which actions would aid the team in working towards the objectives. At the time, Property Management was undergoing a restructuring. The apprenticeship enabled me to be aware of change management and to help ensure that it was adopted effectively by the team while I was also presented with the challenge of ensuring the operational element was not impacted or disrupted.
This was the biggest challenge in my career to date, while taking on a new position, I was also managing a team, and there were several elements to consider when transitioning into this role. The skills and knowledge from my apprenticeship helped this become more manageable, and I gained a deeper understanding of how these challenges can become more manageable.
How well supported do you feel by the organisation? What sort of support could someone expect to receive from Vertas Group?
Utilising the flexible working and hybrid working policy made the experience much more enjoyable, relaxed, and manageable. Enrolling on this apprenticeship enabled me to make use of the ‘earn while you learn’ motto. My manager supported me with completing the written assignments, and I was able to work around my work commitments. The opportunities for further development and learning within Vertas Group are endless.
What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to join the industry or already working within the industry about starting an apprenticeship?
Be committed, disciplined, and dedicated, and most importantly, don’t give up. Always think of the end goal and how you will feel after completing the apprenticeship.
Hard work really does pay off, and the success of completing it will be super rewarding!