From Refugee Support Worker to Team Leader: John’s Apprenticeship Journey

John Sedrak encompasses how an apprenticeship can support and help to achieve personal and professional development.

John’s role, when he started the apprenticeship, was as a Refugee Support Worker in the STAR AMAL Team which is part of STAR Service at Leicester City Council.

His organisation wanted John to develop skills that would one day allow him to become part of the management team, and plans were agreed upon from the beginning on how John could gain the knowledge and then apply this in the workplace.

John was enthusiastic, from the beginning, to gain new knowledge and skills and improve his promotional opportunities. John questioned his ability from the beginning to complete both qualifications, but with the support of his management team and Mercuri, we set goals and objectives that were achievable for John.

Seeing John thrive on the challenges of putting his new knowledge into practice, and seeing him start to believe in himself, was so satisfying to be a part of as his Learning and Development Coach.  Mid-way through his apprenticeship, the manager’s position became vacant, and this was John’s opportunity to shine. He applied for the role of Team Leader of the STAR Amal team and was successful in gaining the position.

He has now completed his Team Leader L3 Standard, with a Distinction, and also completed his Team Leader L3 Diploma alongside this, as well as achieving Functional Skills Maths and English qualifications at Level 2.

John demonstrated, throughout the apprenticeship, the growth that comes with an apprenticeship and how learning new knowledge and skills can open many doors for the future. John came to the UK from the Middle East, so English was not his first language. This is, then, an even greater achievement for John and he has, at the same time, gained his UK citizenship. I am so grateful to have been John’s coach throughout his amazing journey.

John now has the drive to further succeed and he wishes to progress further in his education and career by undertaking the Operations/Department Manager Level 5 Diploma and Operational Manager Level 5 Standard Qualification. This is the natural progression route following his success to date.

Amanda Mort Learning and Development Coach

When I started the CMI Team Leader Apprenticeship, completing the Level 3 standard as well as the CMI Team Leader L3 Diploma, I found out that it was a lot to learn and apply!

My previous team leader and current senior managers at Leicester City Council (LCC) encouraged me to challenge myself and release my potential that they could see I had.

I started the apprenticeship in June 2022 and achieved a Team Leader Level 3 Distinction in February 2024.

I was thankful for LCC management in agreeing to enrol me onto the apprenticeship. However, as many of my qualifications and post-graduate studies were from outside the UK, this added further learning goals as I needed to achieve my Level 2 qualifications in English and Maths, along with the main apprenticeship qualifications.

The first three assignments were a big learning curve and I wondered if this was right for me to do these qualifications and I became doubtful of my abilities. I was given such an excellent trainer though, Amanda Mort, and this was a turning point, in my view, as she’s been so supportive and always approachable all the way through!

Things were progressing nicely, but it didn’t take long for me to lose my confidence and drive, as I lost my beloved dad in February 2023. This stopped life for me for few months and consideration was given to my ability to continue, due to the arrangements I needed to make outside of the UK.  I was given a break from my apprenticeship until, thankfully, I felt that I could return back to work and resume my studies.

John Sedrak