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Ryan McCole - Level 7 Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship

Ryan McCole describes completing his apprenticeship as “probably the biggest achievement in my life and the one I am most proud of”. Thanks to the apprenticeship, Ryan has been able to pivot from previously working in human resources to a senior commercial role. Read more to find out how the apprenticeship has supported Ryan’s future career ambitions and how he has found the teaching staff and facilities at NTU.

Why did you choose to do the Senior Leader apprenticeship?

"I had explored studying for an Executive Masters previously but with young family and the time and cost commitment involved it felt very challenging.

When the opportunity to develop my senior leadership skills in this way arose through the apprenticeship scheme with Boots, in partnership with Nottingham Business School, I jumped at the opportunity. I knew it would help significantly broaden my business understanding and future leadership capabilities."

What stands out about NBS and NTU?

"World class facilities to learn from the library through to the lecture theatres and campus set up through to remote digital support and expertise. Important also were international relationships and opportunities. I would have never have expected to be able to do a week long International Consultancy Experience for a business based in Argentina!"

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

"My new gained knowledge, confidence and experience has allowed me to make a complete career pivot from Human Resources into a senior commercial transformation role. My longer term ambition is to continue to progress in a commercial leadership role and work to one day become a CEO. Someone has to want to do the top job!"

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

"I have found them to be excellent; diverse in experiences, thoughts and approaches and always supportive and helpful. I have been lucky to have them for support, especially during long periods during my study where we were in national lockdowns and arrangements were continually changing."

I am able to engage and solve for business issues in a more strategic and holistic manner now without question.

What do you think of the facilities available at NBS?

"Excellent and cater for all learning styles and needs. The library facilities in particular I found to be world class and have evolved so much even since I did my Post Graduate Diploma back in 2006-2008. I felt fortunate and privileged to have such support at my fingertips."

How have you balanced studying alongside your professional role? How have you found the support from your employer?

"It has been tough to be honest, especially when you consider the majority of my time studying has coincided with the global COVID-19 pandemic. In a funny way though having lockdowns meant I had less distractions or social life so more time to study!

I could not have asked for a more supportive employer, mentor and line manager. I was supported with many full days off site learning during my programme and time ‘off the job’ as needed.

It was hard balancing all this alongside family commitments too but I am really proud of hanging in there and completing my studies successfully. It is probably the biggest achievement in my life and the one I am most proud of. The chance of an education is truly a gift. I am super grateful for the opportunity."

What is your favourite thing about your apprenticeship?

"The lifelong friendships I have now formed with many of the fellow cohort studying for their apprenticeship. In the tough times the group was excellent in helping each other along, working through all the changes and challenges together. I could not have wished for a more diverse and supportive group."

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

"So many to list; from discipline in professional reflection to many business related skills from influencing skills through to applying global approaches and application to things such as sustainability, corporate governance, marketing and finance.

I had not anticipated becoming so engaged with the modules on operations and Director’s Perspective. These opened out new facets of business I had only engaged with on a surface level previously. I am able to engage and solve for business issues in a more strategic and holistic manner now without question."

To learn more about our apprenticeship courses, please contact apprenticeships@ntu.ac.uk.

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