This year, St. James’s Place Wealth Management (SJP) introduced the Silver DofE Award into its Apprenticeship scheme. This investment in the development of potential future business leaders has been a huge success, with both the business and participants reaping the benefits. The young people taking part in the DofE have found their self-confidence, self-awareness and their ability to work as a team increase.
We interviewed Rory, 19, a current apprentice at SJP, to find out how doing his DofE has helped him progress at work.
Q. Were you looking forward to doing the DofE Silver Award as part of your apprenticeship?
A. I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect or who the other apprentices were that I’d be doing it with. I also wasn’t sure I’d be able to do the expedition. But it’s been great.
Q. How has taking part in the DofE programme helped you at work?
A. It’s helped me become a lot more open minded and understand how to work as part of a team. I now have the skills to network both within and outside of my team. I work better with my manager and with the other apprentices I’ve met from different parts of the business. We’ve developed a great relationship as a group now.
Before doing my DofE programme, if I struggled with something at work I’d tend put it to one side and leave it to the last minute because I was afraid to ask for help. Now I’m much more open and will ask for help. I also think I get more work done because I know how to approach it.
Doing my DofE Programme has helped with my confidence and to bring out my personality. I also have learnt how to act professionally in the working environment.
Q. The skills section included courses to help you in the work place. What made the most impact on you?
A. The ‘Insights’ course made us look at who we are, how we think and act, and how to understand and work with other people’s strengths and weaknesses. It made me think about any blind spots and to identify where I might clash with someone else. It’s been really useful, especially for my relationship with my manager.
Q. Were there other aspects you particularly benefited from on a personal level?
A. I used to be a footballer but had to stop when I broke my knee. For my physical section, I went to the gym – I knew I needed to be fitter to do the expedition. I enjoyed having a reason to go.
For my volunteering section, I was thinking about working in a local charity shop; however my manager suggested I did something I would be more passionate about. I spoke to my old football coach and started helping him out every week with coaching and training. I’ve really enjoyed the experience and having a way to get back involved in football again. I’ve come to realise that if I carry on volunteering and doing my physical activity, it can lead to more positive things. My goal for next season is to start playing again, which doesn’t seem impossible anymore.
The expedition was really hard. We had hail on one of the days, torrential rain the next. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for my DofE, and we were only able to get through it as a team. It was a real accomplishment.