We asked a number of our Boardroom Apprentices what it has been like for them…

Lisa McGonigle, Boardroom Apprentice, North West Regional College

Back in May 2018 I was in the lucky position of being in the right place at the right time when I heard Eileen Mullan on Radio Foyle extolling the virtues of a programme called Boardroom Apprentice. Based on what Eileen was saying, it whetted my appetite to find out more so off to Twitter I went to do a bit of exploration. What I found was a programme that had the potential to enable me to make a real difference in an organisation from a wide range in Northern Ireland. If I was to compare it to anything it felt like a super-charged springboard into an environment that could possibly have taken years for me to access.

My first impression of the programme was that it had a sense of equal opportunity for all at its heart. No matter what gender, age, culture or race you came from, if you possess the drive and commitment, a place on any Board is within your grasp. Being placed with North West Regional College was the answer to all my prayers as I am passionate about the fair representation of females in the science and technology sectors.  

Would I recommend others to apply for the Boardroom Apprentice? Absolutely – just go for it. I can safely say that you will not regret it. I have developed both professionally and personally. Be prepared to challenge yourself – it is not a cushy ride but what you invest in it, you will get bucket loads in return. 

Conor Taggart,  Boardroom Apprentice, Strategic Investment Board

Prior to entering university, I volunteered with several youth and sporting organisations. Regrettably, post university, I didn’t maintain that participation. The Boardroom Apprentice provided an avenue to kick start my participation in the voluntary sector. This particular role was one which I didn’t think was open to me until I was much older. 

My first impression of the programme was one of surprise. The number and variety of boards and the degree of participation that boardroom apprentices can have, was much higher than I expected. With this comes a significant time investment if you want to get the most out of the scheme. 

The programme has helped me to be more proactive in asking questions without fearing they’re inappropriate – that isn’t to say that feeling is entirely gone but I’m on the road to identifying when they are apt and when not. Secondly, I think it’s helped me be more mindful of the communication and interpersonal relationships I have and how to maintain and improve them.

Cheryl Kirk, Boardroom Apprentice, Northern Health and Social Care Trust

As I started reading the articles from the 2017 cohort, I realised that this programme was exactly what I had been looking for! It would give me the chance to use the time I had available, to help an organisation I was passionate about. I was absolutely delighted when I got the news that I had been selected as the Boardroom Apprentice for the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

At that first meeting, whilst I felt like an impostor having had no previous experience, I honestly had nothing to worry about, everyone made me feel so welcome. I was surprised by the sheer volume of reading involved in being a board member, so I had to pick up speed-reading quite quickly to keep up to date. I have learned that being prepared before the meeting is definitely key, so that I could challenge where necessary and be confident in doing so.

I would highly recommend the Boardroom Apprentice programme to anyone who wants to find their voice for something they are passionate about.

The Boardroom Apprentice Class of 2018 have a few things they would like to share with you.

Meet Elizabeth, Ryan, Cheryl and Jake.

Listen to the impact being a Boardroom Apprentice had on them.