Leader Apprenticeship makes a real difference in local government

A senior leader apprenticeship from LUMS has prepared Ruth McHugh for the challenges to come from local government reorganisation.

Ruth, Adoption Service Manager with Cumbria County Council, hailed the apprenticeship as a ‘unique opportunity to learn and reflect’, providing her with valuable skills that can be applied in both the private and public sectors.

The flexible learning environment – built around your work and including the assistance of a personal mentor – allowed Ruth to bring new insights into the challenges facing the council following government plans to divide the administration in Cumbria into two separate bodies.

“It has increased my confidence in my wider knowledge, skills and abilities and maybe opened up my thinking about future learning and employment possibilities,” said Ruth.

“It opened up my thinking about the elements of leadership and management that can seem private business-focused, and think about their relevance to public sector work. The whole programme fits in very well and was very relevant to my role, which shows the commonality of leadership issues whatever setting you work in.

“The real highlight for me was the process of planning, carrying out and completing the projects, as they made a real difference for the service delivered, and confirmed that my energy comes from inspiring and working with others to improve what we do.

“Despite the additional pressure of doing this on top of a busy job, I’ve really enjoyed and valued the experience and know it has helped me be more effective and confident. This will be so important in the huge changes taking place now and with local government reorganisation.”

Ruth can see how Cumbria County Council have benefitted from her studies already, and said:

“I have been able to increase my knowledge and skills, bringing benefit to the immediate service, but also to the wider senior leadership team. Taking time to reflect more has enabled me to bring new insights to challenges in the organisation.

The projects gave me the opportunity to explore and make a difference in an area which was really important and see a positive end result, as well as opening up lots of other questions and possibilities.”

Lancaster University’s Senior Leader Apprenticeship offers professional development for current and aspiring senior leaders – with optional pathways to a full Executive MBA or  MSc Leadership Practice. The Apprenticeship is fully funded through the Apprenticeship Levy.