Claire proves it's never too late to start a Degree Apprenticeship

Having worked in human resources for many years, Claire Vaughan began a Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship at Warburtons, the UK’s largest bakery company, to challenge her personal and professional development.

She said: “I haven’t studied for a number of years and felt it was the right time for me to continue with my own personal development. I specifically did not want to carry out a further qualification in HR but instead broaden my horizons by stretching myself, not just at a higher level but outside of my own function.”

The adult learner heard about this opportunity with the help of Paula Reynier, former UCLan Senior Lecturer and Degree Apprenticeship course leader. Claire approached her employer to discuss how the company could benefit from her apprenticeship and they agreed it would be a good idea and supported her all the way.

Claire, originally from Todmorden, negotiated with the University and her employer to work from home every Thursday.

She added: “It was a big commitment as the company needed to be confident that I would still fulfil my role to the required standards. To meet the needs of the university and Warburtons, this involved carrying out a lot of my job role in my own personal time but the ability to link work with learning made it easier to juggle priorities and more enjoyable at the same time.

"The ability to link work with learning made it easier to juggle priorities and more enjoyable at the same time."

During her apprenticeship, Claire led a project team to deliver guidance for managers on supporting employees with disabilities. Her project identified opportunities to support and develop leaders. Thanks to Claire and her team’s hard work, this programme of work is now being implemented.

Claire also conducted a full review of the company’s attendance management policy, interviewing and presenting to key stakeholders at all levels. Her extensive research has opened new opportunities by placing further focus on supporting employees with their mental and physical health.

“The Degree Apprenticeship has given me the confidence that even as a mature learner, which I am, I am still capable of achieving more. UCLan have been hugely supportive with my work demands offering flexibility when needed, with highly knowledgeable lecturers.

"I would recommend UCLan to anyone considering the Degree Apprenticeship, just give them a call or drop them a line, you’ve nothing to lose!”

Claire advises anyone considering a Degree Apprenticeship to understand the time commitments required on the course. She added: “Normal life does have to go on hold for a time but if you are motivated and a self-starter, you’ll immediately see the benefits that it will provide you and the company you work for.”

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