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Becky Valentine - Level 7 Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship

Becky Valentine, 43, works for Spenbeck, an SME based in Nottingham. One of Becky’s favourite things about the apprenticeship was that she was “able to immediately use the models and frameworks” and apply them to her business. Notably, she mentions it made a significant difference in surviving the difficulty small businesses faced during the pandemic. Keep reading as Becky touches on her positive experiences with NBS and the Senior Leader apprenticeship.

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Why did you choose to do the Senior Leader apprenticeship?

"I was particularly attracted to applied nature of the course. Focusing each assignment on my company allowed me to make an immediate positive impact from the new knowledge, skills and behaviours I developed. As a micro-SME the financial support provided from the apprenticeship was also a significant factor, as it would have been unaffordable otherwise."

What stands out about NBS and NTU?

"Both NBS and NTU have a passion to engage with the business community and that shone through the apprenticeships. The consultancy projects in particular demonstrated how important it is to NBS to be supporting local companies of all sizes and to learn more about what its business community needs to be able to provide more specific support to students and companies alike."

How do you believe this apprenticeship will affect both your current job role and future career?

"As co-owner of our family business I was unsure at first how the apprenticeship could facilitate role change. However, armed with a range of new skills and frameworks and a passion for sustainability directly garnered from the apprenticeship, my role has now changed to lead on sustainability. Resulting from this has been significant career opportunities as I have developed a role in supporting other SMEs achieve their sustainability goals.

The apprenticeship also allowed me to test a diversification opportunity which I have now brought to market through my Building Health consultancy and which is allowing me to support companies in optimising employees’ health and wellbeing which is a brand new career for me, but one which I have been passionate about for a very long time."

I have gained far too many new skills to mention, but the most important ones are greater emotional intelligence, initiating and managing change through improved entrepreneurial abilities, and horizon scanning.

How would you rate the teaching and support staff on this apprenticeship?

"The teaching staff did a commendable job switching quickly to online delivery and ensuring we still had quality lectures. Our cohorts have nuanced needs given that as apprentices we are both attending university while delivering in senior management positions in a variety of sectors. This makes support slightly trickier to deliver well and the NBS team did a good job of doing so."

What skills and experience have you gained as part of this apprenticeship? Has there been anything that you were not expecting?

"I have developed immeasurably both personally and professionally, and I was certainly not expecting the in-built therapy that comes through the reflection practise that we were taught! I have gained far too many new skills to mention here, but the most important ones are greater emotional intelligence, initiating and managing change through improved entrepreneurial abilities, and horizon scanning."

What advice would you give to someone applying or looking to study the Senior Leader apprenticeship?

"Be honest with yourself about the time commitment – it will need more that you think – but then go for it! It will hugely benefit your company and change you in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine."

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