Hélène started the Level 7 Senior Leader apprenticeship in 2020 after identifying this as an opportunity to further enhance her leadership skills and business knowledge. This is a Master’s level programme, which has the option to study ‘top up’ modules to attain a MBA or MSc upon completion. Whilst not wanting to go to university full time, the apprenticeship provided Hélène a great alternative route to attain the same qualification while applying learnings directly to her current role, and to be able to join a wider community to network with others across industries.
Accessing the ATAC network to learn and share ideas
As part of the Level 7 Senior Leader apprenticeship, alongside training on the job, apprentices are required to complete a final ‘research project’. Hélène decided to focus her project on ‘how CDMOs (Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation) can improve innovation’. Following a discussion with her ATAC mentor, an opportunity was identified to connect with senior leaders across the industry to discuss the process of managing innovation, compare challenges and share best practices. Hélène saw the benefit of networking from her experience with the BIA LeaP programme and was keen to connect with others to expand her research project even further.
“Kate and Netty from ATAC were such a big help. Netty put me in contact with her BIA and MAC links. The community has been so supportive and flexible. CEOs, Directors, and other senior leaders agreed to attend an Innovation Focus Group that I chaired to help me gather information and learn from other experiences for my project. Although everyone around the table were competitors, they didn’t appear to be. They were really engaged and contributed happily to the discussion. We even concluded the meeting by agreeing collectively that we should hold more discussions such as this one. It shows how great the community is, that people are willing to help if you ask, and how much senior leaders go out of their way to support others.”
In addition to opening doors to industry leaders, the ATAC programme also provides opportunities for apprentices to connect and network. This includes attending webinars, complimentary events and lunch and learn sessions to hear from speakers across the industry. Hélène reflected that she “wouldn’t have access to these without ATAC.”
Hélène explained that
“the apprenticeship has been a challenging but rewarding experience. I chose innovation as a project because it is key to any organisation’s success and had the potential to positively impact my organisation. I didn’t have to get external input, but I wanted to go that step further and I’ve been extremely happy with the results. The leadership skills that I have gained from the apprenticeship have made a real impact in work and in my personal life. I have a scientific background, and it could sometimes be hard to understand why an organisation makes certain decisions or how to challenge practices in the right way. I now feel as though I have the knowledge and skills to do this. As a word of caution, the apprenticeship is intensive and it is hard work, but the more you put in, the more you get out of it. I am also lucky that Pharmaron Gene Therapy is very supportive, both encouraging me and allowing me to commit the time that the program demands. I would certainly recommend the programme and joining ATAC!”
The next steps
Hélène intends to take a well-deserved break from studying and looks forward to progressing her career further, hoping to move into a new role with increased responsibilities and strategic focus.
About the Level 7 Senior Leader apprenticeship
A leader is someone who has senior management responsibility, and this can include formal governance/director responsibilities. They are responsible for direction and vision, providing a clear sense of purpose and driving strategic intent. They take into account market trends and environmental influences, identifying longer term opportunities and risks. Through inclusive leadership, they are responsible for developing ethical, innovative and supportive cultures with the ability to deliver results. They are a role model, with responsibility for those in senior positions/significant organisational budgets.
Occupational Profile: Professional strategic leaders in the private, public or third sector and all sizes of organisation, who lead, manage and direct organisations. Specific job roles may include: Senior Leader, Section Leader, Executive, Director, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Information Officer, Senior Military Officer, HE Registrar and Head of Department/Faculty.
You can access further information about this apprenticeship, including exploring the option of topping up your modules to complete an MBA, here.
Pharmaron Gene Therapy is a strategic partner for gene therapy developers and operates from state-of-the-art cGMP biomanufacturing facilities in Liverpool. They apply pharma industry-leading expertise and cutting-edge technologies to support customers to develop, test and commercialise their innovative medicines. Helene is one of 6 apprentices engaged on different ATAC programs at Pharmaron Gene Therapy.