By Eileen Mullan
Founder, Boardroom Apprentice
As Boardroom Apprentice gears up to take on a new cohort of apprentices, I always find now is a good time to reflect on where our previous Boardroom Apprentices have ended up and what they have gone on to do since completing the Programme.
Boardroom Apprentice is a 12-month programme that aims to bridge the gap between aspiration and reality. During their time on the programme, Apprentices are able to gain the experience needed to serve on a public or third sector board. Through their placement with a host board, Apprentices learn and develop the necessary skills in a safe and supported environment, setting them on the path to a permanent position as a board member.
Since 2017, we’ve had 319 Apprentices embark on their personal journey to serve on a public or third sector board. A follow you tracker is carried out 12 months post completion for each cohort. ‘What Boardroom Apprentices Did Next’ report for the Class of 2020 produced by McNamee Consulting on behalf of Boardroom Apprentice, gives a reflection on the impact of the programme on the Apprentices and what they have done with it. We spoke to 28 Apprentices from the Class of 2020.
Since completing the 12-month Boardroom Apprentice scheme, 79% of the Apprentices we spoke to have already applied for board positions. Of that group, an impressive 84% of them had been invited to interview for the position. I’m delighted to share that a further 67% of these Apprentices then went on to secure a board position within a year of completing the programme. Now, they work as active members on a public or third sector board, making a change to society and giving back to the community.
Of the Apprentices that hadn’t yet applied for a position, 100% of them plan on applying at some point. They shared with us their reasons for not applying yet. It was never a case that they didn’t feel ready, or that they weren’t sure they could manage a position on a board. Often it was simply the case that developments in their personal or professional lives had put the journey to becoming a board member on hold.
One of the key takeaways from talking to our previous Apprentices is that, whether or not they’ve yet secured a board position, they feel prepared to do so. This is incredibly important to us. Positions on a board will come along in time; what is vital is that the Boardroom Apprentices feel ready to take on the position when the opportunity arises. An incredible 100% of our Apprentices said they felt that the programme had equipped them to go on to apply for board positions.
A big aspect of feeling well-equipped to apply for a position on a board is having the confidence and courage to do so. Confidence is key, and this is where Boardroom Apprentice steps in. Numerous Apprentices shared with us that the programme helped them to develop their confidence, to become more self-assured and to do away with impostor syndrome. Skills and experience are one thing, but it’s arguably even more important to have the confidence to put yourself out there and apply for positions on a board. I’m delighted that we’ve managed to support our Boardroom Apprentices and help them to develop their confidence in themselves. I have no doubt that they are all capable of making a difference — the important thing is that they now believe they are capable, too.
One Apprentice shared the impact of their time on the Boardroom Apprentice Programme in the report saying: “I would never have even considered applying, nor would I have thought I would have been successful.”
Another told us that after completing the programme: “I felt much more confident in my abilities and the experience with the board made me feel much more authentic/genuine when sharing my skills and what I felt I could give. It also enabled me to very confidently say that I could make the time commitment as well.”
Knowing how talented and hard-working our Apprentices are, I’m sure this number will continue to grow. If 100% of them feel equipped to apply for positions, then I have no doubt that we’ll be seeing all of them on a public or third sector board in no time. They have the motivation and desire to make a change, and the Boardroom Apprentice has helped them develop the skills and find their confidence to do so. It’s a recipe for success.
Talking to some of our previous Apprentices, we found that the benefits and impact of the programme extended beyond the boardroom. Over half of the Apprentices we spoke to said that they’d experienced progression within their own careers. There’d been promotions, career changes, and new business ventures, just to name a few. In fact, one of our previous Apprentices even emigrated in pursuit of their new career. 93% of these Apprentices told us that they believed the Boardroom Apprentice Programme contributed to this career progression.
The experience gained and skills learnt during their time with their host board have clearly been transferable. But it’s not just skills that helped our Apprentices to make moves within their working lives. Once more, talking to our Apprentices we found that confidence was a running theme. By participating in Boardroom Apprentice, they had become more confident in themselves and their abilities, and better aligned with their personal goals and ambitions.
Another Apprentice told us that the programme helped them progress in their career by giving them the “confidence to apply, to reach for something more”. Another shared that the Boardroom Apprentice Programme “gave me a greater sense of my authentic self and clarity on where I wanted to go as an individual and an employee”. While a third Apprentice said that the Programme aided changes in their career through “making me realise what is important to me and equipping me with skills to do so”.
We don’t transform our Apprentices into brand new people, capable of taking on anything in their personal or professional lives — because our Apprentices have always been that way. It’s just the case that the experience, skills and – importantly – support that Boardroom Apprentice provides allows our Apprentices to realise their full potential. With renewed confidence, and a true sense of what they’re capable of, our Apprentices have gone on to achieve great things within the boardroom and beyond.
It’s a source of great pride to know that Boardroom Apprentice aids in the development of Apprentices in so many aspects of their life. I don’t think I’d fully anticipated that Boardroom Apprentice would be so impactful in so many different ways, and on such a large scale, but I am absolutely delighted that this is the case.
I am looking forward to seeing what our next cohort of Apprentices will go on to do. With confidence and skills under their belt, I believe they can go on to do great things.
To apply to the Boardroom Apprentice programme go to boardroomapprentice.com/how-to-apply