In September 2019, eight QA apprentices started their Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) programme with the BBC. QA is one of the UK’s leading providers of tech and degree apprenticeship programmes from level 3-7 in specialisms including Leadership, Software Development, Data Analytics, Cyber Security, Infrastructure Technician and Project Management. The apprenticeship programmes are designed and delivered as immersive, role-based learning with projects to allow learners to develop skills relevant to their role and organisation.
In March 2020, one of the QA apprentices, Benji Millar, was on his first placement rotation at the BBC, working with the Transformation, Change & Improvement Team. He was given an exciting opportunity when chosen to play a vital role to support the project management of the BBC’s central coronavirus response.
The project was started to support the wider organisation and its people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The organisation enacted a command call structure comprising three levels of authority (gold, silver and bronze) involving the BBC’s Director General, Executive Committee members and Senior figures across the organisation. Part of Benji’s role in the project team was to ensure that key decisions were logged and actioned to ensure the project was kept moving within the three levels of decision making. Benji Millar commented:
“The apprenticeship has provided me with the opportunity to gain real-life experience and helped to boost my workplace learning as I was able to apply the theoretical part of the programme to a live project.”
Initially, Benji shadowed the Project Manager, having been asked to act as a backup resource to support him and step in if needed. As time has gone on, Benji has taken on more responsibility within the project and joined regular high-level calls with senior figures within the organisation. Benji has become very familiar with the action plans and stakeholders having worked alongside the BBC’s Director of Safety, Security & Resilience and Chief Operating Officers.
It continues to be a fantastic opportunity for Benji to gain project management experience as well as building understanding and examples relating to his ‘Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours’, which is needed to meet the CMDA standards. The experience has given Benji exposure to key stakeholders across the business and developed his ability to communicate effectively with senior executive leaders in order to deliver a vital project. Benji added:
“I’ve been able to use a lot of transferable skills including communication and forming relationships. I have also gained experience of an organisational structure and now better understand how decisions are made and implemented having observed the actions of senior leaders and learnt from them. The BBC entrusted me with this responsibility and it has given me such valuable experience which will really help me in the future.”
Benji continues to work as part of the Coronavirus Response Project as the project transitions to supporting the phased return of staff into BBC buildings.
Sarah Langford – Business, Digital Marketing, Finance and HR Apprenticeships Manager commented:
"Benjamin Millar joined the Level 6 Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship in autumn 2019. The world as we knew it changed dramatically when the coronavirus hit the organisation and our way of working. Benji adapted with the huge shift change and rapidly became an integral part of his placement team, he grasped his role and responsibility with the utmost dedication and his contribution during the pandemic has been outstanding."
"Benji has more than risen to the challenge working with high-level stakeholders across the business. His positive energy has kept his team going at very challenging times. He has impressed the senior leaders with his professionalism, technical capability, drive and determination for someone so early in their career. We are proud of Benji and look forward to watching him thrive over the coming years."