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Ashgate Hospice > Apprenticeship Week: Learning to be a leader – by Shelagh Freeman

Many people might think apprenticeships are just for young people or those at the start of their careers, but apprenticeships are available to Ashgate Hospice as a method of personal development. 

Shelagh Freeman has worked at Ashgate Hospice for six –and-a-half years and did just that, starting her apprenticeship 18 months ago.  

As part of Apprenticeship Week, she tells us more about why she wanted to take on an apprenticeship and what she’s learned so far. 

When I started the apprenticeship. I was working as the Community Services Manager at the hospice. I am now an End of Life Care Facilitator, working to improve the quality of end of life care delivered by staff in nursing homes and primary care networks in North Derbyshire. 

I first became aware of the opportunity of personal development through apprenticeships about two years ago through our Learning and Organisational Development Team. I decided to grasp the opportunity to study within the apprenticeship model as it fitted in well with what I wanted from my development. Plus it’s practical and applicable to the work that I was already doing. 

When I came to choosing my apprenticeship, there were several subjects to choose from. At first, I was interested in the coaching apprenticeship but decided to go for leadership; I had done some leadership training with the hospice and wanted to explore it further. 

The apprenticeship involves a teaching session with an online tutor once a month. I am doing it alongside another member of staff and the tutor fits the sessions around our availability. There is an online site full of resources for students, too! 

My apprenticeship subject helps to identify what systems and organisational influences shape our everyday experience of work. It also helps you recognise and develop your own personal leadership qualities that in turn, impact on others. In addition, there are also lots of practical tips and tools that are shared, which can help manage yourself and others. 

I like having the opportunity to reflect on my leadership style and I have also found the skills and tools shared useful for project management. My favourite part was doing the Myers-Briggs assessment and finding out that I have the same personality traits as Morgan Freeman! I also like studying alongside a colleague so that we can support and help one another. I am already more confident about what I mean by leadership and the importance of being kind. 

If you’re unsure about taking on an apprenticeship and want to know what I think: I say go for it! It’s a great opportunity to be embraced and I find it stress free, enjoyable and relatable. Although there are some assignments to do, it doesn’t feel too academic. It feels more like having a mentor who is supporting you with the work that you are already doing!