Reflecting on a year of collaboration – With-you Consultancy guest blog

Reflecting on a year of collaboration – Lesley Linley, Business Operations Manager, With-you Consultancy

Building and maintaining relationships has been a key aspect of my career for more years than I think I’d like to mention; I’m not sure I ever consciously decided that it would be that key part, but it certainly has become the part I enjoy the most.  So, when I was asked just over a year ago within my Business Operations role at With-you to further build on the relationship and form a collaboration with Paragon Skills to drive the Peer Worker Apprenticeship forward, I was thrilled. This fitted really well within my role and keys areas around quality, learning and development. My key strength is establishing and supporting processes!

Bringing two different organisations together to work on a particular Apprenticeship Standard has been insightful, exciting, challenging, refreshing and I am feeling a real sense of achievement.  That achievement coming from meeting new people, understanding how we each work individually and within our respective organisations and then learning what we can each bring to a unique relationship.

It’s been a year since that collective really came together; and I see the shared values and ambition we all have.  If I were to reference Tuckman, we have formed, stormed, normed and I can really feel us performing now.  We have gotten to know each other and focussed responsibilities and goals.  We’ve shared concerns and supported each other to overcome challenges.  It’s started to feel, to me, really cohesive and productive.

There have been challenges: some we expected and some we didn’t, but those shared values and ambition have helped us to move forward.  The Peer Worker Apprenticeship being brand new has been a challenge in itself.  We have relished the need to raise awareness of Peer support and of the Standard.  Connections are what we’re all about at With-you, so we’ve been able to make and build new connections whilst also actively shouting about what a much needed, progressive opportunity this is across diverse lived experience roles and sectors.

Working into the regulated world of Apprenticeships is complex.  We’ve really taken time to understand how we can bring our knowledge, experience and expertise, and the values, language and diversity of peer support into the programme content and the delivery to learners.  This, for me, feels like the best achievement so far; the content, format of delivery, Personal Tutor knowledge and skills and the support we bring make this such a rich programme for the learners and their organisations.

Bringing the Peer Worker Apprenticeship to life, to learners and to employers has been hard work and continues to be a nuanced area of development, but the reward of seeing those peer supporters learning, developing, progressing, and opening the opportunity to forge a career from their lived experience is incomparable.

Find out more on our Peer Worker apprenticeship here.

What our client say

We are Rated as ‘Excellent’