Rob Cameron is currently a Support Team Leader at GoodLord - the cloud based platform that is revolutionising the lettings process. He is also currently a WhiteHat apprentice, undertaking the People Leadership Programme Level 3 qualification.
I think it’s fair to say that my career to date has been anything but typical. After graduating from university with a degree in History and taking a year out to travel around the world, I joined proptech startup Goodlord in late 2017. Fast forward almost three years and I have experienced and survived a company-wide redundancy that saw more than 40% of its employees let go to ensure the company’s survival, I have seen us transition from a startup company to a scale-up at pace, I have worked under five different managers and currently lead my department that has grown from six in the post-redundancy period to now twenty one brilliant, driven and talented individuals. This journey, and the experiences and lessons I’ve learned along the way, is incomparable to any of my friends from school or university and I feel incredibly proud of what I and we have achieved over the last three years. WhiteHat has played a huge part in that for two key reasons.
I first became aware of WhiteHat in Q3 last year when my manager at the time suggested we look at hiring an apprentice into our Support team. I knew that one of the girls who I really rated in our Payments team was a WhiteHat apprentice and that WhiteHat was highly regarded, so I welcomed the idea to bring in someone a little different from a different background - not the usual university grad that we favoured hiring up to that point. Having just been promoted to a Team Lead position and, with it, being given line management responsibilities for the first time (only 20 months into my first ever ‘proper’ job!), and as someone who has always loved a challenge, I thought the idea of managing and helping develop a young apprentice was pretty cool. My manager and I looked through dozens of video applications from various hopeful apprentices and narrowed it down to a shortlist whom we invited to the office for a face to face interview. When Shanae walked in and started talking, we knew we’d found who we were looking for.
One of the best things about WhiteHat as an organisation is their values, specifically their stance on social mobility and the idea that ‘good people win’. Shanae has overcome significant challenges in both her personal and professional life, with her pastoral situation leading her to face more challenges than most, yet her resilience, passion and determination have been unwavering. One of my proudest achievements has been seeing Shanae win WhiteHat’s Apprentice of the Month in March of this year, nominated by her excellent coach Sean Landes who has gone above and beyond to support Shanae throughout, and watching her grow from a talented but low on confidence young lady into a strong, high-achieving, supportive and inspirational woman. As well as keeping on top of her apprenticeship work and meeting the high standards and expectations I set for my team, Shanae has also been a passionate advocate for the BAME community and - regardless of what is happening in her personal or work life - she has continually found time and space to positively contribute to this community, such as giving presentations about BAME leaders during Black History Month and heading up the Diversity and Inclusion committee at Goodlord. WhiteHat has given Shanae the tools and skills needed to thrive in the workplace and replace the need for a university degree. Managing an apprentice as determined and talented as Shanae is easy - I feel incredibly privileged to work so closely with someone like her.
To hear more about Rob's experience as a line manager of an apprentice, sign up for the first in our #BeABoss event series where we'll hear from four apprentice managers who will share insights and intormation around how to stand out as an apprentice!
However, my WhiteHat journey does not finish there! Earlier this year I embarked on their People Leadership Programme - the master has become the apprentice! As a young person new to the world of management, I cannot emphasise enough how valuable I have found the programme. I read in another WhiteHat blog post that all the modules seemed to be “perfectly timed”, and I could not put it better myself. I feel in the relatively short time I have been an apprentice - only around five months at the time of writing this - my professional development has been fuel-injected and fast tracked.
In the first module, Awareness of Self, I developed my self-awareness (knowing who I am, what I want to accomplish and the value of seeking out feedback from others), learnt about different styles of learning, emotional intelligence, unconscious bias, relationship management and became aware of my blind spots. All this in the first month! It didn’t stop there. Each module on the course comes with a fascinating and wide array of resources to supplement what is covered in the group and individual coaching sessions, such as articles, videos and eWorkOuts that challenge your preconceptions and suit a wide range of learning styles. The next module, Management of Self, taught me to recognise my own shortcomings (namely time management - we’ll quickly move on from the fact that I had planned to write this blog post two weeks ago… ), and covered tips and tricks to better manage this: goal setting, prioritisation, delegation, self control, scheduling, managing interruptions and overcoming procrastination. These practical and theoretical approaches are designed to be applicable in the workplace, and I believe my effectiveness as a manager and employee has been supercharged thanks to WhiteHat.
Our last three modules (Leading People, Managing People and Building Relationships) have focused on personal development, coaching others, situational and inspirational leadership, organisational and high-performance cultures, team effectiveness, motivation, management models, the importance of trust in relationships and conflict management - all especially relevant for me, who over the last few months have been given the privileged responsibility to grow and lead the team, setting the aims and objectives for the first time. This responsibility for someone so relatively new to the world of business, I believe, is as a result of the development and progress I have made thanks to my WhiteHat apprenticeship.
I couldn’t write about my apprenticeship without giving humongous amounts of love and credit to my coach, Luke Scott, who has been nothing short of magnificent throughout my course, both on a professional and personal level. I am learning that an effective leader and coach makes you feel safe whilst pushing you to be a better version of yourself, and I would recommend a WhiteHat apprenticeship to anyone who is dedicated to improving themselves and deepen their understanding and interactions with the world and people around them. It is a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it.
What did you think about Rob's journey so far? Did anything specific resonate with you? Explore more stories like Rob's on the Hub Blog.