Here, he tells us about how the experience has helped him to view himself in a different light and the tools he still uses every day.
Hi Tom! Tell us a little bit about you.
I’m a Recreation Duty Supervisor, so I look after the daily running of the building and managing staff on shifts.
I completed the ILM Level 4 which took roughly two years to complete. We had Covid in between which mixed everything up a bit.
When did you complete that?
Just before the first lockdown, so it’s all been signed off and completed.
Congratulations! Did you enjoy it?
I did! I can’t talk highly enough of Susan – she was fantastic.
For the first six to eight weeks, I did struggle. I said to Susan, ‘I don’t know if this is for me.’ Susan was so nice and motherly – she was fantastic, and she pushed me on for the first eight weeks. After that, it was all guns blazing.
Nothing was ever too much trouble for her, and we had a great relationship in the end.
She mentioned you found the Eisenhower Matrix useful – do you still use that?
I’m glad she mentioned it because at the time, I had a high workload - mountains of stuff. Instead of prioritising things, I was trying to do it all.
She introduced me to the Eisenhower Matrix, and it made me realise there were tasks I needed to concentrate on and others that could wait until next week.
It really helped me and I’m still using it now. I’ve still got it on the board in the office.
Nice! What do you like about your job at Aneurin Leisure, Tom?
Every day is different. I like meeting new people. Especially since the lockdown, and January as well, we’ve had so many new members join.
I ask them where they’re from and they’re from the local area, but they’ve never been in the leisure centre before. It’s quite crazy!
Staff-wise, I did struggle with the management side of things but now I do enjoy that. I enjoy delegating work. This course helped me to become a better manager. At the start, I don’t think I considered myself a manager. I was a lifeguard and a gym attendant before I became a manager, so I still saw myself in those roles.
This course was fantastic and helped me see it in a new light, really.
Has the apprenticeship improved how you do your job?
Yes. Every single bit of the qualification like difficult conversations, delegating work - everything made me see a new side of it. I tried to take everything on myself and it’s impossible to do. Now, I’ve got no issues asking people, ‘can you do this for me?’
It helped me massively. And Susan would give me general advice too - it was brilliant.
Let’s talk about your Training Advisor, Sue...
We met more or less every week on Teams, and she’d call aswell.
I’d be emailing her on a Sunday night, and she’d come straight back and I’d be like, ‘what are you doing?’
Nothing was too much trouble for her. As soon as she came in, I could see she was obviously a lovely woman. Don’t get me wrong – you had to do the work, but she wanted you to do the work and more which was good.
She was just brilliant with the support she gave me. I don’t think I would have been able to complete the qualification without her because in that first eight weeks, she pulled me through.
I’ve got nothing but praise for Sue.
What did your employer do to support you?
Jamie, my manager, was really supportive as well as Kirsty and Hayley. Anything I was struggling with, I could always ask them.
You could do work for the qualification in work time too which was fantastic – it worked well.
What motivates you to learn?
I like learning new things. The Eisenhower Matrix, for example, was fantastic – I don’t know how I haven’t seen that before because it’s such a simple technique to use.
I also like to pass the information I learn on to my staff and see them use it. A lot of our staff have gone into the Level 3 management course, like our Relief Duty Supervisors. It’s good for me to pass that on to them, whereas I was in their shoes only a couple of years ago.
Do you think taking an apprenticeship has changed your life in some way?
Susan will agree with this – when I was first on the course, my confidence in dealing with difficult conversations, even staff 1:1’s, it was never very good.
She’s seen me grow and grow. And my manager Jamie made a few comments to Sue about how well I was doing in work, and that I wasn’t leaning on him so much. I was doing more by myself. Work-wise, it brought me on leaps and bounds as a manager.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of taking up an apprenticeship?
We’ve got a few people in our team who are looking to do the qualification. I told them ‘do it.’ I was one of those who was on the edge – I didn’t think I could do it because I’m not great academically. But the support is there, and with a bit of luck, they do get Sue as well because she’s fantastic.
I’d definitely say it’s a good path to take.
What are your career aspirations? Where will we see you in 10 years?
I’d like to do my ILM Level 5 and I’d like to become a Fitness Development Manager. Don’t get me wrong – I've got a lot of learning to do and I'm open to that. That’s why I’d like to do the Level 5 ILM and tick that off the list.
And then, who knows? I’d like to stay in Aneurin Leisure because I think it’s a fantastic company and I’d like to keep progressing.
We’re looking forward to seeing where you go from here, Tom!