Arden University student Andrew Kellaway

I looked at other universities in the area, but they either didn't offer the right course for me or didn't accept Apprenticeship Levy funding. Arden ticked every box.

Senior Leader MBA Apprentice, Andrew Kellaway, discusses his experience of going back to higher education as an Apprentice while balancing a full-time job as General Manager at UK-wide Johnsons Services Group (JSG).

In 2011, Andrew Kellaway, 47, from Leicestershire joined JSG after noticing their progression-focussed ethos. Now, eight years later, Andrew is in its Executive Academy and studying with Arden University on its Senior Leader MBA Apprenticeship Programme.

Though Andrew only started the programme in January 2019, he is already experiencing the benefits of being able to balance study with family life and his full-time job. Andrew explains how JSG is making the most of the Apprenticeship Levy to close a skills gap and supporting him to further his career. 

When I first joined Johnsons Services Group (JSG), I noticed straight away that the organisation was invested in helping its staff to progress and that the higher-level roles were filled by people that started out as supervisors and department managers.

:After leaving school at 17 and spending 20 years as a production manager, I was keen to make a change and start climbing the ladder. Soon I was invited to join the Johnson’s Academy, then moved up to the Executive Academy for further training and the chance to immerse myself into the business further. It was then I started looking at using JSG’s Apprenticeship Levy funding to complete a Master’s course.

I looked at other universities in the area, but they either didn’t offer the right course for me or didn’t accept Apprenticeship Levy funding. Arden ticked every box. The course is flexible, I would have all the support I needed and I could carry on working at JSG full time. I enrolled on the Blended Learning, Senior Leader MBA Apprenticeship and started my first module in January 2019.

As I’m on the Blended Learning course, I go to the study centre in Birmingham once a month to meet my work coach and the rest of my cohort. There are six of us on the course, all from different backgrounds and ranging in age from early 30’s to late 50’s. It’s great to have the opportunity to work with such a varied group and having them there for support is really helpful.

I knew JSG would be supportive but they have been so accommodating about me spending some work time doing my coursework. I’ve got my first assignment coming up and I’ve already learnt so much, the best thing about the apprenticeship with Arden is that although we are focusing on loads of different elements, it can all relate to the organisations we are working in, so we are using real-life examples to learn.

I never thought I’d be back at university at my age, especially at the same time as my 20-year-old step-daughter, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far. I’m looking forward to seeing how it will help me further my career at JSG.” 

Find out more about Apprenticeships at Arden University