Natalie Corden, Head of Operations, Safeline

What did you do prior to commencing apprenticeship?

I was employed by my current employer has Head of Operations

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

The role I have covers a wide range of areas including HR, finance and operations. I wanted to gain some theory-based knowledge to equip myself to feel more confident in my role. My current role is very different to the roles I have previously occupied.

What did you hope to gain from the apprenticeship?

To expand my knowledge on areas such as operational management, people management, leadership, managing and leading a project in order to get the best outcomes. To feel confident in addressing difficult situations and challenging personalities. To learn more about myself i.e., my learning style, team role and leadership style and to observe styles in others. To be able to apply my newfound knowledge in order to help others across the organisation.

What have you learnt as a result of the apprenticeship programme?

I have learnt about the lifecycle of a project, the different stages to managing a project and how to plan accordingly so you get the best results. I have utilised this knowledge on a number of occasions since. I have learnt about the importance of communication, the different communication preferences and how to adapt the style to suit the situation and recipients. I have learnt how to address areas of conflict in a calm and focused manner which led to effective outcomes. I have learnt about operational planning models which I have been able to put into practice during COVID. I have learnt a lot about myself as an individual and have a better understanding of situations and people which I feel has led to productive outcomes.

What additional progress of responsibilities have you taken on during the programme?

My role has largely stayed the same in terms of scope and areas of responsibility, but I have instigated and led specific projects/processes within the organisation which has come off the back of completing this apprenticeship as it has opened my eyes to new ideas.

What was the best thing about apprenticeship and the most useful/interesting part?

The sense of pride having completed the apprenticeship.

I did enjoy learning something new as it had been a while since I had been in that mode, so I found it interesting to engage a different part of my brain. I also enjoyed learning about the different theories, particularly around people management.

What impact has the apprenticeship programme had on you?

The apprenticeship has had a big impact on me. I can recognise in myself that I am better for having completed it. My confidence in my ability has increased and I continue to feel calm and methodical in my approach to my work. I am also able to actively apply the knowledge I have gained on a regular basis throughout the scope of my role.

What impact in your opinion has this programme had on your organisation?

I think it has had a positive impact on the organisation. By referencing examples throughout my role as part of my written work for the course, I am able to look back and see the various examples of how I applied my new knowledge to support the work of Safeline. For example, COVID had a very big impact on how we were able to safely facilitate a support service and to successfully adapt as safety measures changed. By applying the operational management tools, I learnt on the course, I was able to approach the task in a methodical and inclusive way, with strong communication and team building skills which meant the process was smooth and successful and had the backing of the team.

What have you enjoyed about the apprenticeship?

A big part of my enjoyment was working with the Absolute Works Team. My mentor Sarah Moss was a pleasure and I also felt supportive and encouraged by the team.

How will completing the apprenticeship help you in progressing your career?

It will help me to develop a strategical vision which may lead to a different type of role in the future.

What advice would you give to anyone considering an apprenticeship?

Embarking on this apprenticeship was a big undertaking so I would advise any prospective apprentices to commit to investing quality time and attention to the course and to remain focused on the end goal throughout. 

Natalie Corden – Head of Operations, Safeline

Manager’s thoughts on apprenticeship

Natalie achieved distinctions in every element of her assessment, an absolutely outstanding achievement as she has been studying on top of doing her day job, a daunting task for anyone. I am so proud of Natalie and what she has achieved. This further confirms how talented and organised Natalie is. She is already using her learnings in her work, and she has taken her performance to another level, the reason why we invest in our people. Safeline will benefit hugely from Natalie undertaking this qualification.

Neil Henderson – CEO, Safeline

‘Absolute Works’ offer a range of apprenticeships which include Level 5 Operational Management and Leadership, Level 3 Team Leader, Retailer, Business Administration, Customer Service Level 2 & 3.

If you want to find out more please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Apprenticeship Team on 03332005153 or use our online contact form which can be found here.