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Running a company. It sounds great doesn’t it? Being the one in charge, having a team to support you, multiple opportunities for coffee each day. But as any business owner will tell you, it also comes with a lot of hard work, responsibility and huge decisions to make.

Lisa Vanstone owns and runs One Voice Media – a PR agency based in the heart of Exeter. Having worked at the company for 15 years, she took over the reins in 2021. The team consists of ten members of staff and an office right in the heart of Exeter in Barnfield Crescent.

A business owner might not be who you’d automatically think of as an apprentice, but that’s exactly what Lisa is, after taking the plunge last year and signing up for a Senior Leadership degree apprenticeship provided by the University of Exeter Business School.

Lisa Vanstone

The course asks for 20% of Lisa’s working week. It started in autumn 2022 and will finish in December 2024. The learning is a mixture of virtual and in person seminars and coursework and Lisa says there is a fantastic mix of other people taking part, consisting of those from local organisations to staff from big, multinational businesses. Lisa says that the course content often relates back to One Voice, enabling Lisa to use real-life examples to support her learning and help her in the workplace too.

“I’m only one module in, but so far have found the course absolutely fascinating. It’s taking learning and applying it to my business, which means that it’s entirely relevant, all of the time. I can already see that it’s really broadening my knowledge and increasing my confidence – it’s a totally immersive experience.”

Programme Director at Exeter Business School, Jamie Stewart says that the thinking behind this course is to provide students with real life scenarios that they are able to put into practice as soon as they return to the workplace. He added: “The PGDip degree apprenticeship is a flexible approach for those looking to extend their learning, and also gives an option to add on MBA modules too for those who want to take it further. The apprenticeship angle makes it entirely practical and I’m really enjoying working with this year’s cohort.”

So you see? Apprenticeships really are for everybody. Find out more about which apprenticeship could be for you, by speaking to one of our advisers. Contact us at hello@exeterworks.org to book your appointment.