From hesitation to elation: becoming a Chartered Manager Degree Apprentice

From hesitation to elation: becoming a Chartered Manager Degree Apprentice

It can be daunting to contemplate studying for a degree as well as working full time. Coventry University employees Ben and Giorgia certainly had reservations about joining the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) offered to staff by the University. Here’s how they are getting on:


“Hearing the word ‘degree’ is scary…”

Hearing the word ‘degree’ is scary, however my first impressions haven’t terrified me too much. The first few sessions were about getting to know the tutor and the overall layout of the course; from what I have seen and heard it will be time well spent. The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship is something which will benefit you forever. It will help to improve all aspects of working with people and give you the skills and knowledge to better your performance in the workplace and throughout life.

Taking part in this programme will not only benefit me as individual, but also has benefits for the University,  highlighting members of staff who are committed and willing to spend the four years completing the course. It also means having highly qualified members of staff in the workplace.

The part which scares me most about this course is the academic writing. I have never written in this way before and it means developing a whole new set of skills and knowledge. It is definitely one thing that initially put me off the idea of joining the scheme; however in time things can only get better and with correct guidelines I can’t go too wrong.

From my initial impressions, coupled with the work already completed, I can confidently say that I am looking forward to the future and what this course has to give. I would recommend this Degree Apprenticeship to anyone who is interested in furthering their knowledge and improving their workplace performance.

I can already see changes in myself, not only in the workplace but in making new relationships and my confidence in doing so. This Degree Apprenticeship is the best opportunity I have ever been given and I intend to give it my best shot!

Giorgia Smyth


“At the first study session any previous reservations that I had before joining the course were immediately dispelled.”

When the opportunity to study a degree at work was presented to me it was too good an opportunity to be missed!

Admittedly, before I started the course I had reservations as I hadn’t studied for over 10 years and was worried if I would even have time to incorporate a degree into my work/life schedule and about the impact it would have. I was also unsure of my academic ability and whether I had the skills and competence to achieve a degree.

Once the course began it was clear that the Degree Apprenticeship was a great decision. We had a small class of 11 great people from a variety of different areas within the company that had enrolled on the course.

At the first study session any previous reservations that I had before joining the course were immediately dispelled. I was put at ease by the tutor running through the structure of the course, content, assessments and addressing any issues/worries that the group had about the course.

It soon became apparent that as there is a requirement that 20% of your time at work is dedicated to study while on the course, this gives you a day in the working week to concentrate on your studies.  I think this is fantastic as it means that we have dedicated time for the course. Also, as the work you do for the degree directly relates to your day today job I find that it improves the way you work and interact.

I discovered after a few weeks of starting the Degree Apprenticeship that it is not just the work environment that it enhances, since most of the skills, theories, models and methods that you learn can be adapted to most environments, including your home life.

I would recommend anyone that is given the chance to study a Degree Apprenticeship to grab the opportunity with both hands, embrace it as the prospects it will open to you are endless!

Ben Grocott

Find out how Coventry University: The Nationwide Apprenticeship University can help you provide opportunities like this for your employees.