Alex Crooks

Product Manager
Shepherd’s Bush: The White Building

In October 2017 I was given the opportunity to join the company Apprenticeship Programme to study for the Professional Management degree. I thought I would reflect on my journey for National Apprenticeship Week.

I joined the programme because I like to learn, and the content seemed to cover some of the areas I am focusing on as part of my Personal Development Plan. After 12 years in the industry, I was at first a little skeptical that an Apprenticeship could teach me skills that I lacked, but after seeing how the Government aims to transform how Apprenticeships are positioned, I felt reassured. It is also a great opportunity to get a degree without going to University as I went straight from College into the Telecoms industry.

When I first met with my Skills Coach and was told it was a 4-year degree with about 11 hours a week learning, it felt a little daunting, but I was determined to make it work. I am now in my 2nd module and I have so far managed to balance learning around my day job and personal life. I am stress-free and I got really good marks on my first assignment with plenty of learning to do better this time around. My manager and the business have supported me well and this has included some of our leaders taking the time out of their busy day to talk to us which has helped with our assignments.

I like the fact that TalkTalk provides a wide range of learning opportunities and back to my earlier point, you have to make it work for you. The principle of 'Led by you, supported by your manager and backed by TalkTalk' now really resonates with me as you need to find an approach to learning that works for you and also that you don't try and do too much. I am confident that if I identify a skill I need to improve on, there are multiple ways of me getting help in both a digital and offline way. 

 

"My manager and the business have supported me well and this has included some of our leaders taking the time out of their busy day to talk to us which has helped with our assignments."

In terms of our values, TalkTalk is providing a way for us to be ourselves here by giving us these opportunities to learn in the way we want to learn. I think this programme and the subjects I am learning (Managing Projects & Decision Making so far) are helping me deliver on 'We do the right thing' and 'We deliver our commitments'. There have been a few 'eureka' moments over the past few months which I have brought into projects I am working on.

To summarise, I would recommend this programme to my colleagues and do not be put off by the length of time it will take and the amount of time you put into it. You will make it work and you will see the benefits quickly.