What is your job role?

I am a project manager for the Diocese of Leicester.

How has your approach to leadership changed or developed as a result of undertaking the programme?

I think it’s made me a better leader. What I mean by that is it’s made me a more thoughtful leader, a more strategic leader. I’ve been able to test out some of the theories on my staff. I can see that it’s made me better in the way that I lead them, and it’s also helped me think about how I communicate and write reports for senior leadership. I think I’ve become a more effective and strategic communicator.

With the knowledge you’ve developed, what challenges do you think this will help to resolve in your role?

I think chatting with people from lots of different faiths about the secular management theories and being able to bounce those theories around has enabled me to be able to communicate that better in my faith-based environment. I think sometimes it’s a very easy and lazy accusation to make that this isn’t of God or doesn’t have faith in it. So, to have done that learning with others from other perspectives and from different heritages, different life experiences, professions and faiths, has broadened my horizons. When I’m speaking into my own work situation, it helps me articulate and communicate how these tools are useful.

Have you learned anything that you think surprised you or challenged your way of thinking about leadership?

I think it’s changed how I thought about myself and made me realise how competent I really am. I’m a very competent leader and it has given me more confidence. It has enabled me to own the space that I inhabit and grow within my organisation.

What advice would you give to anybody else considering taking the apprenticeship?

I think it is a really good thing to do. I’ve grown as a person. I’ve grown at work, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve noticed that the people who deliver the course have been really accommodating, keen and helpful to make sure that it worked for us. I’ve got a young family, but it didn’t matter that I had my baby on Zoom for the seminars. It didn’t matter that I had to have an extension for an essay around the birth of one of my children. The flexibility and the way in which I was encouraged and accommodated through all of that, I really appreciated that.

What attracted you to do this course at Birmingham?

I think the type of course really appealed to me as I’ve always wanted to do a masters, but I’ve never been able to afford to do a masters. As it was an apprentice scheme through my employer and remote learning, the possibility was unlocked for me. As the main breadwinner, I couldn’t just disappear off to do a degree. I think it is really evident with the cohort that I’m a part of that it has made it accessible for others as well. The course merges both faith-based leadership and public administration, which are the things that I’m both good at, but don’t often appear together. I could see how what I would learn would impact my job, but also my career in general.