“My management apprenticeship helped me get a job as a CEO”

Written by Jamie Oliver Thursday 08 February 2024
CMI’s 2023 Apprentice of the Year, Will Burchell CMgr FCMI, has worked in the charity sector for more than 20 years. Discover how his recent management degree apprenticeship took his career to the next level – and what one could do for you, too
Presidents Dinner Will Burchell

“A lot of people become accidental managers,” says Will Burchell CMgr FCMI, 44, chief executive officer at Leeds-based charity, the Bone Cancer Research Trust. “Maybe they’re good at their role, get promoted and then have management responsibilities. 

“But the higher you go, the greater your exposure to senior leadership, boards and trustees. And the problem is that vocational learning only gets you so far.”

This was the inspiration for Will on to start a management apprenticeship back in October 2020, which led him to become the CMI’s Outstanding Apprentice of the Year 2023. 

The CMI awards it for “significant progression and consistent commitment to personal and professional development, providing a positive impact for both their employers and fellow apprentices”.’ It is fair to say Will is an enthusiastic advocate for management and leadership development.

From small cog to CEO

Will has worked in the charity sector for 20-plus years. He embarked on his apprenticeship in 2020 while a director at Autism East Midlands, becoming CEO of the Nottinghamshire Deaf Society while taking the qualification. Since September 2023, he has been CEO of the small but world-leading international charity, the Bone Cancer Research Trust. 

“To go from director level to CEO is possibly the biggest step you will ever take in your career,” Will says. “It’s a significant step up. For me, to go from a small cog in a larger organisation to being, along with the trustees, someone with more overall responsibilities, was huge. The apprenticeship gave me the skills, knowledge and confidence to make that step. It definitely helped me get a job as CEO.”

Discover how Will’s apprenticeship boosted him up the career ladder


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