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.