‘For me, APPLE was totally career changing’

October 31st, 2014

Apple, an award-winning women’s development programme is celebrating 10 years at the University.
Here, five
APPLE graduates reflect on a programme that has played a key part in their careers:

Marion Walker MBE
Professor of Stroke Rehabilitation

In 2004, Marion, then a senior lecturer at the University, joined APPLE’s first cohort at Nottingham.

“Looking back, it was a key moment in my career. APPLE gave me the chance to reflect on where I was going — like many of us finding the time to think about our careers seemed like a luxury, not a necessity.

“It made me realise I wanted to stay at Nottingham and progress my career here. It was a pivotal point, really.  A key thing was an understanding of the University landscape, how it  works. I met colleagues from outside my area, it really encourages networking, to share experiences. I learnt how the promotion system operates. The programme involved inspirational women who shared how they managed a successful career and a work-life balance. My children were small then and being encouraged to achieve that was important.

“I encourage all my staff to go on APPLE. I mentor staff on the course and Apple was instrumental in my wanting to help set up WAND [Women’s Advancement Networking and Development for staff at level 6 or 7] for which I’ve spoken on master classes on promotions.

“APPLE had such a positive impact for me — it was hugely important.”

Eleanor Forward
Researcher Training and Development Manager, Graduate School
“I guess I was on a fairly typical career zigzag, and perhaps uncertain of where I wanted to go next. Sometimes it’s difficult to share those things and APPLE gave me the opportunity to talk with colleagues across the University. I was a project manager at the Graduate School, on short-term contracts, when I joined APPLE. I took an ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management) Certificate in Project Management through APPLE and it was a colleague at Apple who suggested I think about the Strategic Projects Unit (now the Executive Project Management Unit). I got a project management post there, focusing on a portfolio of strategic and change projects and working with senior colleagues.

“I wanted to get more involved with the research environment, and 18 months later I was back at the Graduate School as Researcher Training and Development Manager.

“One of the key strengths of APPLE for me is the contacts. It’s easy to see no further than your department — with Apple you can develop yourself and it gives you the time to meet wider colleagues.”

Kelly-Ann Vere
Senior Technician, Institute of Biophysics, Imaging and Optical Science and Technical Staff Development Officer
“I participated in the APPLE programme in 2005/06 and it was a huge eye opener. I’d been working here for six years as a technician. In a technical role it can often feel like you exist in your own laboratory bubble — you can lose sight of the bigger picture.

“Apple opened my eyes to the vastness of our University and the diversity of roles. I built some fantastically useful networks and made some good friends. The courses gave me the tools and motivation to push on with my career and work towards making a positive difference to the technical community in higher education.

“I’ve since achieved things I never would have thought possible and I will always be grateful to APPLE for giving me the confidence to create and pursue these opportunities. I encourage all colleagues to sign up!”

Soma Mukherjee
Research Systems Manager, Research & Graduate Services
“Through APPLE I found a new focus and a better understanding of how the University works. I was in a mixed learning set and it helped me understand how academics actually work. If you are a manager it can offer real support on challenges like time management, managing conflict, how to be assertive.

“I’m leading a learning set for the first time this year,  on The Challenge of Leadership. In discussing it I’ve met some very interesting and influential people, who have shared some of the issues and challenges they’ve faced. I’m looking forward to running it — I want to move on my career, it will give me more learning and understanding of the problems managers face — and running this gives me the chance to think about something outside work.”

Tamsin Majerus
Assistant Professor and Daphne Jackson Research Fellow, Life Sciences
Tamsin was an early stage post-doctorate researcher when she enrolled on APPLE.

“For me, it was totally career changing. I learned a  whole set of skills, varying from project management to building confidence and networking. I did the ILM diploma in project management, which was funded by my School — they were very supportive.

“APPLE asked us what we wanted to achieve — for me it was publishing papers and fellowship applications. I submitted papers that year and put in at least one fellowship application. The course empowered me.

“Since graduating from APPLE. I’ve been running a learning set aimed at early-stage researchers. We look at networking, the promotion system, building careers. A lot of early-stage researchers — myself included when I enrolled on APPLE — haven’t a clue about how the promotion system works at the University.”

APPLE is offered by the University’s Professional Development Unit and focuses on developing leadership and professional skills for women at levels four and five in all job families. The course runs annually and lasts nine months. There’s no cost to schools or individuals.

APPLE (Academics’ and Administrators’ Professional, Personal and Leadership Experience) consists of:

  • Two core days at the beginning and end of the programme
  • Optional ILM leadership sessions (first line manager, project management and coaching)
  • Optional personal development sessions (e.g. assertiveness, time management, networking, life balance)
  • Learning sets, mentoring and promotions master classes

There are 80 places and demand is high. Places for the September 2015 programme are filling fast.

For more information please contact Suzanne Morton, Course Director for APPLE and WAND programmes.
e: suzanne.morton@nottingham.ac.uk
w: www.nottingham.ac.uk/go/pd-apple

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