A new lease of learning!

Sam Gallilee, FIRST's operations director recently took on an apprenticeship after significant growth at FIRST. To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, read Sam's first hand account of what the learning has done for her and the team.

After 25 years working in education and training the last thing I expected to be at my age was an apprentice. However, the opportunity came along and I am now back in learning doing a Level 7 Strategic Leadership Apprenticeship with Newcastle Business School. 

From the start to now ... 

I started my career 30 years ago as a youth worker and have taken on many roles as part of my work life journey through formal and informal education, working with young people, supporting schools and now leading a team at FIRST. I am very proud to work for a company that support learners from underrepresented communities across the North East to develop their enterprise skills to support them into learning, employment or self-employment. I have for many years been in a managers role with teams large and small, working on programmes, project and services that support learning on all different levels. 

As a manager I deal with staffing issues and concerns, HR, contract management and target monitoring; everything from coffee to contracts is how I describe my day to day job. As FIRST are growing, it has become evident that there was an opportunity for me to extend my role. Inspired by the passion and commitment to spreading the entrepreneurial spirit across the North East that Charlotte and the team have, I enrolled on a Level 7 apprenticeship programme in October 2023. 

So what has it been like?

The whole learning experience so far has been eye opening and has helped me to become more aware of my skills, actions, words and practices and how these support the mission of the company and the development of the staff. Being able to take learning directly into my place of work and see the impact of the positive changes has helped me and FIRST achieve so much in the last couple of months. Being able to affect positive change for FIRST, staff and learners as a result of my apprenticeship has been motivational and has given me a different perspective on me, my skills and my role as a leader. 

For me the higher level apprenticeship has connected me to a whole other network of peers from different backgrounds, sectors and organisations where we can share common problems and support each other with solutions and sharing experiences. The apprenticeship has provided the opportunity to return to academia and for me find out more about new ways to learn (there was no online when I did my degree in 1995!) and has enabled me to connect to the changing practices, theories and learning over the past 30 years in leadership and management. Whilst regular CPD and training has always been part of my life, the apprenticeship has provided meaningful and life changing learning for me. 

When you next think of training an apprentice please just don’t just think about those new to the World of Work; remember those of us that have been around a while and the value new learning can have on both the individual and the Company. To find out more about what an apprentice can do for your business have a read of our other FIRST apprentices’ stories.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Please let us know your preferences.

Please read our Cookie policy.