Jo Abraham started out as an apprentice at the age of 17, undertaking a Level 2 Business Administration qualification (just like the qualification available at The Learning Foundry today), and has since worked her way up to become Managing Director at The Learning Foundry. While apprenticeships are sometimes dismissed for more 'traditional' education routes like university or college, Jo's is a story that should be heeded and heard this Learning at Work Week by current and prospective apprentices and businesses alike. Read about Jo's learning journey in full below:
Tell us how you ended up in this job?
My absolute passion is supporting individuals to achieve their full potential. As someone who has never been to college or university and has used apprenticeship programmes to progress through my career, working at The Learning Foundry is the perfect job for me.
With every job I have had to date, when going through the interview process I have never been the candidate with the most experience in the room, but I have always been the most determined and the most passionate. It’s worked well so far. I am still learning every day as the Managing Director at TLF, and I have lots of great people around me supporting me every step of the way!
What learning and development opportunities have you undertaken to progress into the role you have today?
I started my first apprenticeship at aged 17 (level 2 Business Administration). I was very lucky working for a very small organisation as by the time I was 22 I had achieved my level 2 & level 3 Business Administration apprenticeships and was a qualified FE Teacher and Assessor.
When moving into management roles I undertook Management apprenticeships right up to level 5. This was great as I was able to learn, put into practice what I learned and develop the skills I needed, whilst receiving structured support from my Management tutor (shout out to Bobbie Carter at TLF who was patient and mad enough to support me through my level 5).
What’s the best piece of advice you can give about learning and developing?
My advice to anyone looking for progression opportunities is that apprenticeships are a great way to develop your skills, knowledge and behaviours to progress into your dream role.
If you are thinking of going for an opportunity never let a lack of experience stand in your way. Go for it and then get a good training plan in place (possibly through an apprenticeship) to develop the skills and knowledge that you still need to work on while in the job.
If that doesn’t excite you, do it the other way and put a training plan in place, develop the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours you need to grow into your dream role before applying.
Always have your eyes on the prize (your long-term goal) and regularly reflect if you are doing enough to move towards the prize. Sometimes that involves putting extra time in in the short-term, but the benefits are worth it!
And if you are in your dream role, how amazing! But never stop learning!
What is next for you?
I didn’t go to college or university due to having my two sons very young. While I am sad in some ways that I missed out on the university experience, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I have personally achieved my management apprenticeships up to level 5, but apprenticeships are now available at degree level! To develop myself further I plan to enrol onto a degree apprenticeship (in Management or Education – I haven’t decided which one yet) and would like to do this over the next year or so.
There is only one difference between a degree apprenticeship and a degree – going down the degree apprenticeship route you don’t end up with the debt!
Don’t forget to contact us at The Learning Foundry if you are looking for development opportunities. We are here to #makeyourtalentshine!
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