To mark National Apprenticeship Week 2021, Michael Desmet, Head of Customer Services in Kent County Council, shares his experience of participating in an apprenticeship programme:
Describe your role and the work you do at Agilisys
I am Head of Customer Services, accountable for the Kent Council contract. We are a large contact centre managing inbound call traffic and emails, as well as issuing all the Blue Badges for the County of Kent.
I have been with Agilisys almost two and a half years now. We are a great team – all making the lives of Kent residents better in the way we support them and their needs. In September 2020, I began an MBA through the University of Kent based in Canterbury. I am still in my first year and have completed four modules so far.
Tell us more about your apprenticeship…
It is a part–time course to be completed over a two year period. The programme involves attending one week of lectures per month and completing an assignment at the end of each module. This comprises essays, business reports and exams.
The course covers many interesting topics: operations management, financial analysis, innovation, CSR, strategic people management and many more.
What have you learnt through your apprenticeship?
I am learning all the time (every day is a school day!) – through each module and all of the reading and research required to complete the essays and group presentations. It really does put you outside your comfort zone and prepare you for more senior leadership positions or for starting your own business or company one day.
What has been your biggest highlight of the programme so far?
I would say the network of people in my MBA cohort. There are 32 of us across the world spanning various businesses and industries. Some are UK-based, but we also have students in South Africa, China, Malawi, USA and Nigeria. Also, this is the first time I have focused on my own personal self-development and learning since school.
What would be your advice to anyone considering applying for an apprenticeship?
Don’t put off what you could do today! Go for it! I have always advised my team to further your education and training as you never know where it can lead you. You do not get many opportunities where your development is funded. Many of these courses would cost you many thousands of pounds. You will not only get a huge amount of personal development and recognition, but maybe that dream job you have always been searching for.
What are your future plans?
I would like to complete my MBA and then see what opportunities there are within Agilisys. We all know how quickly our business changes and grows, so there are always great opportunities. However, YOU need to own them and go search for something to develop yourself. Never just wait for these opportunities to land in your lap as that is unlikely to happen.