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As a senior leader at Action for Children, a charity which protects and supports children and young people across the UK, Rob Wyatt has significant experience of managing services for vulnerable people. Having started his career as a Care Assistant, Rob progressed to a Registered Manager and subsequently an Operations Director – a role with significant responsibility for service provision, the service users themselves and employees across the South West.

With years of experience, Rob has developed an intuition for leadership and management, and he began looking to back that up with formal qualifications. In autumn 2019 Rob embarked on the Senior Leader Masters Degree Apprenticeship – MBA with Arden University.

“As a leader, I’ve built an instinctive confidence and ability to direct services and ensure delivery is robust. However, backing up what you’re doing with academic understanding and research confirms that what you’ve been doing has been right. The apprenticeship considers my role and the organisation, so I’m able to relate to what I’m learning day-to-day.”  

Having been diagnosed with dyslexia later in life, Rob doubted whether going back to education was the right thing for him. “It was a big deal. My early education had been difficult and I doubted whether I could do this. I would never have attempted this at 18. However, I’m 49 now and it’s the perfect time in my career – I love what I do and now just want the academic backing to support it.”

With such an important, yet intensive role it would have been impossible for Rob to take time out to go and study full-time, so he needed a solution which worked day-to-day but allowed him to continue helping people who really need the support.

“I can’t assign one single day to studying. I needed to balance something around my commitments. I study lots in the evenings, although not every evening. Once you get into the flow you just find you’re able to fit it around time at home and work. Sundays are quieter for me, so I get up and do some work online then – it just suits me.”

In addition to reaffirming his approach and giving him confidence in his own abilities, Rob has also found the structure and approach of studying and assignments is helping him with preparing information and writing reports.

“Things continually change in this sector, and our first module had a focus on change management, giving me the confidence to approach challenging situations in the future.”       

Having recently passed his first assignment, Rob described how he is looking forward to the rest of the apprenticeship experience:

“It’s been absolutely brilliant. The development days allow us to bounce ideas off each other and gain experience from people with different backgrounds. It really brings our online learning to life. I really look forward to attending these.”