Darren Soden

1. Why did you choose to do Apprenticeship-based training?

During the PDR process I expressed that I would like to take over from my manager when he retires. This was picked up by the head of HR at the department and she suggested that I might want to enrol for the course


2. What qualifications did you have before applying for your Apprenticeship course? Did you have to undertake any other qualifications before starting this course?

I didn’t need any qualifications to enrol, but as I finished my school education over 35 years ago, I had to take ‘Functional Skills Exams’ in Maths, English and ICT. Each subject involved five lessons for each at Abingdon and Witney College.


3. How did you find out about your Apprenticeship?

The head of HR put me in touch with Clive Shepherd and Becca Hoyle at the apprenticeship office at Wellington Square.


4. What have you gained from your Apprenticeship – skills, experience etc.?

I attended a ten session management workshop at Abingdon and Witney College with a mixture of level 2 and 3 students. I learnt a lot from everyone on the course as most were already in a management position. The fundamental skills lessons in Maths and ICT were a really good refresher for me, I still have English to do, but once completed I will have level 2 qualifications in all three subjects


5. What has been your proudest moment so far from doing your Apprenticeship?

Apart from being nominated for the apprentice of the month by my assessors, passing my exams in Maths and ICT.


6. What do you plan to do next? / What are you doing now?

I plan to carry on learning more about management using the university online learning website and to learn my manager’s job once I have completed my diploma.


7. How will your/has your Apprenticeship helped you to achieve this?

I am hoping that having a diploma in management - Team Leading, will give me a good chance to eventually take over from my manager or progress within the university.

I have also learnt a lot of new skills that I have already used within my current job to help my manager and team.


8. What advice would you give a person who might be thinking about Apprenticeship-based training to progress their career?

I would definitely recommend taking the training as it’s all done in works time and will definitely help with their career and progression within the university as you will gain recognised qualifications.


9. What advice would you give a manager who is considering Apprenticeship-based training for their employee?

You have to be prepared to lose your employee for 20% of their working week during the course, but you will benefit from their newly gained knowledge.


Darren recently won 'Apprentice of the month' at Abingdon & Witney College. We asked him how it felt to be told this...

Mixed emotions really. Proud to have been nominated by my assessors and a little embarrassed as I'm 53 years old and have just been working on my diploma as I expect everyone else has been doing.


Find out more




Contact us

Apprenticeships Team

E: apprenticeships@admin.ox.ac.uk