From education to employment

Management apprenticeship brings personal achievement and benefits to the business

As Head of Operations with a major national business, Marie Belmar has to keep her focus firmly fixed on vital customer care. She also has to have the needs of the company’s 300-plus employees at the top of her agenda.

So fitting in studies for a Level 5 Management apprenticeship has been no small task. But she’s now celebrating her success after all the hard work – and can reflect on her own personal achievement as well as the benefits she’s bringing to the business.

Marie’s story begins with her joining the RAF where she worked in Air Traffic Control at RAF Northwood in London.

She said: “I was there for five years then came back home to Birkenhead. I had no real professional qualifications outside the RAF so started doing office temping work – something that led me to the job I’m doing today and I simply worked my way up the ladder.”

Marie, 38, began her civilian life with MD Insurance Services Ltd in Birkenhead. At the time, the company had only five employees but now, still with its base in the town, has national headquarters at the Shore Lines Building in Shore Road and a workforce of more than 300.

The business supports clients with their construction projects, delivering structural warranty solutions for residential and commercial buildings, and has a network of more than 100 surveyors who keep in regular contact with MD’s customer service team for all on-site and off-site issues.

Marie continued: “It’s a big operation and excellent customer care is vital.”

Fifteen years after joining the company, Marie’s training journey began when some other employees at MD Insurance Services were studying a Business Administration apprenticeship.

She said: “I just put the question: Is there anything I can do to achieve a qualification relating to strategic planning? Progress to Excellence Ltd suggested a Level 5 apprenticeship in Management – so I began.

“I’d done NVQs in the past so had an understanding of gathering evidence and compiling a portfolio. I have to admit that the work was very time-consuming but really enjoyable. You need to fully commit to a huge amount of effort to the course and invest a lot of time – but the benefits have been tremendous.

“My studies gave me a chance to take a new look at a lot of the different aspects of my job, things I had been doing regularly on a daily basis and others I had maybe forgotten about but could then take on with a fresh outlook.

“They also made me realise that the business is not necessarily all about targets but about its human face and all the people we are working with, both our customers and our employees, to provide them with a first class service.

“The benefits to the business itself have been immense too. I appreciate now how much I have grown with the company and become ready to take on even more challenges.”

Talking of her experiences of training her staff through an apprenticeship, Louise Edwards, Learning & Development Manager at MD Insurance commented;

“It is great to work with our local apprenticeship training provider Progress to Excellence Ltd. They’ve provided Marie with the opportunity to complete her Level 5 Management apprenticeship, enabling her to further enhance her skill-set.

“Marie is a highly motivated and driven senior manager, and this was a great opportunity to demonstrate her expertise whilst gaining a nationally recognised qualification.

“Marie’s assessor has also been excellent. She was both professional and supportive and helped us, as an employer to understand the new Apprenticeship Levy funding and course structures.”

To learn more about the benefits to apprenticeships, and click here.

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