Apprentice Kully’s journey to promotion and Chartered Manager status

When Kully Boden’s employer, Derby City Council, offered her the chance to gain a fully funded apprenticeship, she grabbed the opportunity with both hands. She had to balance study with a high-pressure role as Service Manager at the Council, and overcome disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic; but Kully was not deterred. She has just completed her Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship and received one of the highest grades within her cohort. She’s also secured a promotion.

Motivated to learn

During her 30 years of work for Derby City Council, Kully has always prioritised her professional development. So when the opportunity to receive a recognised higher education award came along, she was excited: ‘‘The thought of having the opportunity to learn with different and new colleagues across the council and disconnecting myself from day to day work to focus on developing me as an individual, was stimulating” says Kully. “I’m not one for being content and set in my ways.”

Pleasantly surprised

Despite being excited, Kully also felt cautious about starting the apprenticeship, because she knew it was a new course. However, as she got into the teaching, she found that she was pleasantly surprised: “Tutors were willing to share their knowledge and practical experiences of application, and seemed genuinely interested in our backgrounds and existing knowledge base,” explains Kully. “This made for a more interesting discussion: you could apply the learning to current situations rather than just discussing theory and printed examples.’’ She also describes how each module was delivered on time and provided her with the practical support she needed.

A particular highlight for Kully was in module one, when she completed the emotional intelligence questionnaire: “It was a real eye-opener and helped me appreciate how I manage my emotions, my attitudes towards certain situations and what I need to develop, in order to be a great leader’’.

Another key moment for Kully came when she completed her final dissertation, amidst all the turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic. Her report included recommendations about how the Council could make savings, which were taken forward, so her hard work delivered real business impact. “Learning new skills such as organising, coordinating and managing field research was something I had never done before,” says Kully. “But I managed to deliver, despite Covid, an insightful dataset that assisted my employer with decision making.”


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Career progression and other benefits

Kully says that studying the apprenticeship has “certainly helped with career progression” because towards the end of the course, she secured a promotion. As well as achieving a university degree and a promotion, Kully has also gained the prestigious Chartered Manager Status with the CMI (Chartered Management Institute), which opens up a range of professional benefits.

She describes how the course has helped her in other ways too: “It has certainly helped me appreciate more, the governance and work of colleagues across the council, especially in the areas I studied — such as strategy development and risk management — and how that influenced my own work area. I’m thankful that I was given an opportunity to grow and develop and having grasped it, was rewarded for my passion and diligence to make my service and I the best we can be.’’

Matt Bromley, Academic Manager for the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, assisted in Kully’s End Point Assessment and praised her work ethic: “Kully has demonstrated great resilience throughout the programme whilst working in a high pressure role in the City Council. Even with the impact of Covid-19, Kully has demonstrated all of the behaviours expected of a Chartered Manager in leading her team during this difficult period and we are incredibly pleased that Kully was awarded a distinction for her Apprenticeship and was recently promoted at the Council.”

Looking to the future

Kully is now considering becoming a mentor for future students, so she can share her knowledge and tips of how to get the most out of the apprenticeship experience. She says:

"If you are thinking of coming to study this course at the University of Derby, you are in good hands. The tutors understand the working environment that students are coming from and can adapt the theory to make it a meaningful session. They also encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to researching and application.”



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