More and more adults are advancing their skills through continuous professional development (CPD). But did you know that a degree apprenticeship is also a form of CPD?

For National Apprenticeship Week, we spoke to Rob McHugh, a Senior Support Officer at Leeds City Council, about how doing an in-house apprenticeship enabled him to bring new skills to the table.

Close up selfie of a person smiling warmly, wearing glasses and wearing a button up shirt

Higher apprenticeships at Level 4 are equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree

Tell us about your degree apprenticeship

I’ve just completed a Level 4 apprenticeship in project management, which is an interesting industry to work in because no two projects are ever the same. I have a full-time role at Leeds City Council and dedicated one day a week to the apprenticeship.

A typical training day would start with a three-hour morning lecture (with colleagues) on an aspect of project management. I would then spend the afternoon completing ‘homework’, evidencing how I’ve used the knowledge acquired over my degree apprenticeship in my work setting. To be honest, I don’t think I quite realised how flexible the learning could be.

What made you choose project management?

I’ve always been interested in the knowledge that surrounds project management – for example, the methods, techniques, processes and terminology. It’s an industry that equips you with transferable skills, as much of the experience you gain is essential or desirable for other sectors. The apprenticeship itself was suggested to me by a colleague – it was pretty evident it offered perfect preparation for job opportunities I’m aspiring to.

What support did you receive as an apprentice?

The support I received as an apprentice was excellent, especially from the lecturers at PL Projects who were very approachable and thorough. They were available to discuss things in depth or talk through tricky issues.

What’s the plan now you’ve completed your studies?

Doing a degree apprenticeship has built up my confidence and opened up career progression opportunities to me. Now that it’s complete, I hope to move into a role that involves project management. I know I am equipped with the knowledge and skills to do this.

Any advice to others looking to upskill through an apprenticeship?

Discuss it with your line manager to get agreement on how it will work alongside your day-to-day role. I think most employers will definitely consider apprenticeships at all levels because you’ll be bringing new skills to the table. If you have capacity, then don’t hesitate – you’ll be glad you did.

Leeds City College