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National Apprenticeship Week 2023 - Joe Murfitt

This year, the theme for National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Skills for Life’, highlighting how apprenticeships can deliver a strong base for a rewarding and successful career, and how they help businesses to build a talented workforce with future-ready skills.



We spoke to Joe Murfitt – Central Hub Operations Manager about the UCQ Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CDMA) that he is undertaking, which combines a BA (Hons) Professional Management degree with the CMI Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership.


How has your apprenticeship benefitted you?


The apprenticeship has opened up new avenues in learning which I haven’t had access to before. Within my role in Operations, I rarely get to be involved with other department discussions but as a result of the degree programme I have found myself in discussions with IT over new digital programs, Marketing over ways of showcasing new projects and Finance over how to better refine budgets and KPI’s to have more control over spending. The degree programme has provided me a much more rounded view of how the business works as a whole and also allowed me to learn from other departments how they help the business move forwards.


What skills and knowledge have you developed through the apprenticeship?


Initially, people would think a degree programme is all about essays and academic reading, and while it is still important to see what previous scholars said about a subject and how it has developed, the degree program has introduced a number of ways to submit academic work. I have learnt how to write and upload blogs in a particular style of writing, complete PowerPoint presentations to communicate new ideas and developed a vast range of portfolio work, such as reflective reviews and observations, which have made the course beneficial and exciting.


How will it help develop your career in the future?


The diversity of the course and the various overlaps with other departments have made me more confident to approach other heads of departments for advice and ideas. I have developed further confidence with my presentation skills when standing in front of an audience of people I don’t know well and it has helped me understand how other departments within the business can help achieve our shared pursuit of excellence across all platforms. I truly believe it has provided me with the skills to widen my thought process on decision making and to consider how decisions may not only affect my own department but others too. This is something which will shape me into a much stronger leader in my future career.


Would you recommend an apprenticeship to other people?


Absolutely! Whilst there are challenging periods, long nights and lots of reading, I am at the halfway stage and can already see the benefits this has given me and the strengths I have developed. If you are looking for career development, it isn’t something that should be easy and hard work always pay off. If you are hungry for more in life, you need to get out of your comfort zone in order to develop and progress and this course has the exact tools to enable you to do so.


What has been the most interesting part so far?


Whilst some of the academic reading and Harvard referencing is essential, it can be tedious, but the course itself is inclusive and interesting. There are multiple sources of learning such as blogs, videos, lectures, group activities and breakout rooms where you can share ideas with other people in your position. I would say the most rewarding area so far is the presentation I completed on the recruitment process at Pall-Ex, something we had already implemented and fitted nicely into the module. This shows that there are a number of projects throughout the course which can relate to business projects you may already be doing, allowing me to put more academic links into the project.


Why did you choose to complete an apprenticeship?


I am driven and not content with doing the bare minimum to get by. Every day and week, I strive to make it better than the last and push myself to improve daily. Whether these are small or large changes, it still helps us to learn. The apprenticeship is the biggest change to my working life I have had in my seven years at Pall-Ex and I can honestly say the change is amazing. I decided I wanted to do this as I knew this would be a massive boost to me when applying for higher positions, as well as developing my own work to implement various ideas. My aim upon completion of the degree in the next two or three years is to climb higher in the business so I can use my skillset to pay back the business for the investment they put into me.


Our apprentices play a vital role in the business, with the CDMA helping to nurture our existing talent and develop those individuals into leaders of the future. Launching the management degree programme demonstrates our commitment to our people and highlights our determination to achieve excellence.

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