Lockdown success for Zoe

20th May 2020

Lockdown doesn’t stop ambition and achievement.  Proof of this is one of InterLearn’s latest successes, Zoe Jeanes, Manager with global digital, media & marketing recruitment agency Aspire, who has just completed her Level 5 Operational Management Apprenticeship with an overall distinction. Keen to celebrate her success we wanted to find out more on how her recent qualification has supported her career path and what advice she would give to those who are also thinking of completing an apprenticeship.

Zoe had just joined the Strategic Management team at Aspire, London, when she was offered the opportunity to complete a Level 5 Operational Management Apprenticeship through InterLearn. As part of Aspire’s training initiative, Zoe felt lucky to be given the chance to complete a Level 5 qualification, and felt it was perfect timing having worked within a team leader role for the past couple of years.

Speaking about her career so far, Zoe said, ‘I’d been a manager for about 4 years, responsible for a varying headcount and levels of seniority. Aspire is a recruitment agency specialising in the media, digital and advertising landscape, so my role is very commercial, both in terms of people management and motivation but also in terms of forecasting and developing revenue ideas.’

When talking about her apprenticeship with family and friends and how they’d responded, Zoe expressed that they were all very supportive. Initially they underestimated the amount of work required to achieve the qualification and its significance, but when Zoe explained that a Level 5 qualification was the equivalent of a Foundation degree, they were very impressed.

When asked about her highlights as an apprentice, Zoe tells us honestly; ‘one of the highlights was building a strong bond with the other learners, who were all my peers at Aspire. We already worked closely but the time spent in the classroom and working on project streams was great not only to develop ourselves but our professional relationships too. The other highlight was also Carly Bradshaw, our trainer from InterLearn. We were lucky enough to have her for the majority of the course and her teaching style and support was absolutely invaluable.’

Reflecting on what Zoe has learnt about herself during the course, she told us that one of the modules on Self-Awareness was a real eye-opener. She went on to say, ‘thinking about how you view yourself in addition to how you come across to other people and the impact that can have is hugely important in any management role. I’m a very expressive person, so I found learning about this and analysing myself in certain situations very useful especially in terms of how much to modify my behavioural style to get the best out of people.’

When asked about whether there was any advice she would give to someone else thinking of completing an apprenticeship, she added ‘the main advice I would give is to do your research beforehand so you have a really good idea of the amount of time an apprenticeship will require and what it will take in order to gain your qualification. When I first started my Apprenticeship I didn’t really have a full understanding of this so midway through, it felt like a long road ahead but hard work and a keen interest in the subject-matter got me through. I would also advise completing as much as possible as you go along – workbooks, taking note of examples you could use, gathering your evidence to showcase your development. You will then have everything you need collated in preparation for a successful EPA and achieve a top grading in your Apprenticeship, as well as all the additional skills and knowledge that come with it!’

Zoe aims to use all of that knowledge and those newly acquired skills to take the next steps in her career. Planning to move into a more strategic, senior leadership role she is looking forward to fresh new challenges, and we are definitely excited to see where her career goes!

If you’re inspired by Zoe’s story and would like to know more about the apprenticeships available for your employees like the ones delivered to Aspire, then take a look at our programmes and drop us a line for an informal chat.

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