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Rory’s Journey: Navigating a Higher-Level Apprenticeship

Rory NAW Story

National Apprenticeship Week is a time to celebrate the incredible journeys of individuals who have chosen the path of apprenticeships for their career development. We recently sat down with Rory, Community Investment Manager at Places for People, who transitioned from dropping out of university at the start of his career to embracing an apprenticeship in management.

Higher-level apprenticeships, like the one Rory undertakes, are specialised programmes designed to provide our Colleagues with a deeper understanding of their field, offering a unique opportunity to grow professionally while earning valuable qualifications.

We asked Rory what motivated him to choose a higher-level apprenticeship in management over traditional academic routes.

“I actually dropped out of University the first time around, so I have unfinished business! I started an Engineering degree and quickly found that it wasn’t for me at all, so I changed things up and went into the world of work. I’ve had a wide-ranging career with different roles, but all with a common theme of helping people, from Community policing to youth work, delivering training courses, and individual employability support. My career at Places for People has developed into leading teams on projects such as Building Better Opportunities, Big Sister, and Active Communities, and I was keen to be able to back up this practical experience with academic learning to be able to add more value to my teams and the organisation as a whole. The degree apprenticeship seemed like a perfect fit for me and has been really enjoyable and beneficial so far!”

He shared how he has found balancing work responsibilities with the academic requirements of the apprenticeship.

“It’s certainly been a learning curve! With so many opportunities to collaborate both inside and outside of the Social Enterprise, there have been a number of meetings and calls that I’ve had to decline or ask to be postponed due to the need to prioritise study time: everyone that I’ve dealt with so far has been very understanding however. The other aspect of ensuring that I focus on academic work is more of a personal development piece around resisting the temptation to respond to a quick teams message or answer an email, and to focus purely on apprenticeship work during the hours I’ve set aside for it. My team would agree that this is definitely a work in progress, but I’m getting more disciplined by the week!”

Rory opened up about juggling family life, sharing:

“One of my main worries going into this was balancing the additional study on top of work and family life: Having two young children at home as parents will know can make focusing on anything else quite difficult. In reality, it’s thrown up some amusing moments, as my six-year-old daughter was adamant that “grown-ups don’t go to school!” when she found me completing an assignment! It’s been really good to show them that people can keep developing themselves and learning even when they are as old as me…”

As National Apprenticeship Week unfolds, Rory leaves us with a powerful message, "Fortune favours the bold – so go for it!”

Find out more information about the apprenticeships we offer at Places for People.