Senior Leader Apprenticeship Gives Daniel Immediate Impact in the Workplace 

Daniel Biggs took learning from Lancaster University Management School’s Senior Leader Apprenticeship straight into his senior management role at an SME. 

Daniel is Technical and Operations Director at Metroplan Ltd – a UK-based manufacturer and supplier of display and presentation furniture. 

The two-year apprenticeship at Lancaster offered him the chance to learn new skills and insights he can apply directly into business operations, and has greatly shaped his overall approach to management. 

“My learning has resulted in a greater understanding of strategies for managing self-awareness and communication with colleagues and other stakeholders,” said Daniel. “Having these strategies allows me and the company to plan with forethought, rather than being caught out and left bewildered by events. 

“I’ve developed my critical thinking and reflective practice, which shape fundamentally my approach, applying them directly to challenge existing practices and enhance my strategic thinking. Colleagues recognise that I’ve changed or enhanced my approach to business challenges and communication practice. 

“I’ve successfully utilised the academic theories from the programme to enhance existing working practices, as well as develop new processes and protocols to support daily activities, and I can contribute more effectively to the company’s strategic planning and development. The project I undertook as part of the course has had a measurable impact on business performance and is supporting our ongoing change initiatives.” 

He added: “The great thing with the course structure is you can see from the outset the areas that you need to enhance and develop. My role meant I was already exposed to many aspects of the programme in my daily work, and the apprentice standards provided specific focus, enabling me to identify gaps in my knowledge and practice that I could work on.” 

One area, in particular, where Daniel has gained self-assurance and drive is in coaching and mentoring others. As well as helping with staff in his own organisation, he has begun coaching other business leaders across the North West who embark on the apprenticeship. 

“I’ve consciously taken a proactive approach to support and mentor colleagues to enhance their understanding of working practices, as well as discuss their concerns and suggestions for improved practice,” Daniel added. 

“This approach has enabled me to introduce appropriate models, theories and concepts that directly relate to the areas in question. My suggestions are not always adopted, however this process of collaboration demonstrates an effective team at work, as well as my now improved leadership and mentoring skills.” 

That sharing of his learning with team members and those following in his footsteps on the Lancaster apprenticeship also reflects the collaboration and networking that the course fosters among participants. Daniel built longer-term friendships as a result. 

“Meeting and engaging with such a diverse range of fellow students from the public and private sectors, who have a range of qualifications and experience, was really valuable,” he said. “The sharing of knowledge and ideas with constructive criticism led to a sense of belonging. 

“This has not only given me different perspectives on my performance, but enabled the forming of friendships extending past the duration of the course. Discussing my thoughts and describing my insights to critical friends has reinforced and enhanced my learning.” 

Daniel’s beneficial experiences on the apprenticeship have reinforced his views on the value of continued career development, and he would encourage others to take advantage of such programmes. 

He added: “I have always been an advocate of ongoing learning and development, as the world is constantly evolving. This programme is directly relevant and perfectly underpins my role as a senior leader in an SME. It has provided not only practical tools, but also an enhanced self-confidence in my workplace and career as a whole. I am sure others can benefit in the same way.” 

For more information about Lancaster’s Senior Leader Apprenticeship, with routes to MSc Leadership Practice and MBA, visit lancaster.ac.uk/lums/sla