School of Business and Management

Student blog: Degree Apprenticeship

Do you want to earn, learn and change the world? Hear from Arvinda Lalli, SBM student and Scouts apprentice, on his thoughts and reflections about his time on the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (Social Change) programme.

25 February 2020

The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (Social Change) programme is the first of its kind. A compilation of modules from the business management course at Queen Mary University London alongside elements of charity work such as fundraising management and understanding social impact. 80% of the students are BAME (Black, Asian, ethnic minority); with the overall aim of this programme encouraging specially trained managers for the non-for-profit sector from diverse backgrounds. Unlike the normal business management course, the Social Change programme lasts for four years – but still counts as a BSc (Hons). At the end of the four years, the Chartered Management Institution assesses students and provides the chartered status.

As part of this Social Change programme, I’m working for a charity called Scouts. Scouts prepares young people with skills for life – helping them speak up and play their part. Now over 112 years old, the movement welcomes members from all genders, races, and backgrounds. Scouts gain these skills by taking part in a varied programmes of indoor and outdoor activities that help them develop employability, practical, and character skills.

For the first year and a half at Scouts, I’ll be trying out different departments across the organisation so I get a feel for what they do. Experiencing and supporting job roles within departments will help me understand what they deal with on a daily basis and see how they contribute to the organisation and how it keeps us aligned with our long-term goals.

My first rotation was to the communications and marketing department in early November. When I joined, I was given the task of analysing key data from our Scout Experience Survey. My task was specifically about understanding the attitudes of adult volunteers in key areas, as well as identifying ways these areas could be improved.

I also worked on a proposal to revamp different Scouts uniforms. The Scout Experience Survey suggested that both members and non-members were ready to see change in the Scouts uniform across different sections. I looked at data from thousands of children, young people, and adults to see what their ideal uniform would look like and created a document outlining the most popular choices amongst each segments.

Currently I am working in public affairs, which has been the first opportunity to experience external communications through dealing with political stakeholders. As part of this role, I’ve been mapping potential stakeholders from the newly elected MP’s who share similar values to Scouts for the organisation to build a working relationship with them.

The whole time, I was attending university two days a week. One of the modules in my first semester, Introduction to Marketing & Communication, was a coursework module. Being at Scouts (and working in the communications department) was the perfect opportunity to base my field report on the youth sector, with Scouts as my chosen brand. Not only did I learn more about the organisation that I work for, but it also helped me understand the importance of supporting young people to make sure they have the best start for life.

Personally, I believe this degree apprenticeship programme offers a unique opportunity that combines theory-based practices and the real working world. Being organised and managing your time well is a crucial skill to make sure you meet both your office and university deadlines. For me, the most challenging part of this course has been the lack of free time. Travelling to and from university and work can take hours (especially with traffic on the way home). Although it’s impacted my social life and made it harder to spend time with family and friends, I see as a short-term compromise for a long-term gain. Being able to achieve a charted status in Business Management and a BSc (Hons) degree without any university debt, while earning a salary and experiencing real world working environment, will open a number of gateways for my future career.