National Apprenticeship Week 2019: Rachael’s story

Here’s Rachael who is currently Universal Credit Manager at Riverside, her role is to make sure we’re ready to support customers who are making a claim. Rachael is 38-years-old and studying Operational and Departmental Management level 5 working in her full-time role while also looking after her two young children.

What does your job entail?

My job is to ensure we, as a business, are Universal Credit read – that covers everything from policies and procedures through to training for colleagues, supporting customers, working with the Department for Work and Pensions and other key partners to ensure we are all working together to support our customers through the transition of moving onto Universal Credit and managing their claim.

Can you tell us more about what you are learning and about the course?

The level 5 in operational and departmental management is a 24-month course and I started it last September. It’s mainly online with several tasks, online assessments and assignments.

Would you recommend the course and doing a professional course (Apprenticeship) to others?

Yes, I highly recommend to others, any learning is worthy learning. It’s been so great to learn about what makes a great leader and about me, how I can become a better manager and leader. I’m so grateful to Riverside for investing in me.

How will doing this course help our tenants/customers?

Already I am becoming a better leader for the organisation. So far the unit I’m doing has been about me as a person and me as a leader, where my strengths are, where my weaknesses are and putting plans in place to address my weaknesses. Without this course I wouldn’t have this self-awareness or really be doing anything about my weaknesses, I’d have been carrying on the same.

I now understand what I need to do and I have a personal development plan to address this. I’ve gained feedback from a number of colleagues who have given me true and constructive feedback. By learning on how to become a better leader, my team will have a better manager to support and coach them become better individuals. By understanding how I am perceived and how I come across I can think about this and really get the best out of my team. If I can motivate, inspire and push my team this can only be good for our customers as they will be receiving a first class service from us

Do you have a plan or future goal at work that you hope to achieve?

I am really career driven, anyone who knows me knows this. Since becoming a mum this has not changed, my career aspirations have just altered. I want to work at being the best mum while my two children are young, this course is helping refine me as a manager and to become a leader. I really enjoy working for Riverside over the last ten years, since working here I’ve met my husband and had two children. I want to carry on working here and progressing through the career ladder.

How you’re managing a work/life balance and how working and learning is helping you.

Working full-time and having two children is hard enough as it is, I’m not going to lie taking on this apprenticeship is hard. You have to be really strict with allocating the time and sticking to it. Blocking time in my diary every week and switching my emails and phone off is what I try to do – it doesn’t always work but I try. I am just really enthused and dedicated to the course, I love learning and I am passionate about doing a good job. I’ve already gained so many more skills and knowledge in a short space of time and cannot wait for what’s next. I am already putting everything to practise…and I’ve just found out I’m the first of my class to pass the first unit. Thanks to Lee for helping me apply and for my boss Andy for his support and encouragement throughout.