Managing your OTJ / Professional Practice - Harriet Rhode Jhones

(3 min read time)

Hi Harriet! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself ?

My name is Harriet Rhodes-Jones and I'm 25 years old, I've worked at JDX Consulting for 2.5 years and now I have been on the People Leadership Programme for 1.5 months!

We know that OTJ/Professional Practice can be a tough one for our apprentices, can you explain how you managed your OTJ? 

I spoke with my Manager about how I could implement my learning into my current routine, rather than having to rearrange my day to fit it in. This really helped as it meant I wasn’t losing out on time or having to cram more things into each day. We have also set up a monthly check-in for me to air any thoughts and discuss anything I want to raise to them. I regularly set up virtual Networking Sessions with other employees in my Company for times when we would normally go to the office kitchen to grab a coffee, this allows me to build upon my active listening skills which is an area of improvement of mine. I also aim to attend at least one multiverse event each week, in particular ones to do with Project Management, Self-Awareness, and my other areas of interest. I listen to this alongside work if I am very busy, treating it like a podcast to ensure I fit it in. I make sure to log any Coaching sessions and time I work on my Workbook straight away as these count towards OTJ. I have found that allocating 15 minutes at the end of each day in my calendar to assess any activities I have done that day helps me to be reflective upon how I implement my Apprenticeship learning in my work day, and this has helped me to realise where I use my learning frequently during the day, such as presenting in Daily Stand-Ups and providing / attending workplace training. 

As a People Leadership Programme apprentice, can you give us examples of how you completed your OTJ/Professional Practice in the following categories:

1. Applied Learning 

  • Implementing my strengths profile into my daily activities, such as using detail to review documentation and using organisation to plan my week efficiently. 
  • Implementing effective ways in improving my weaknesses, such as forcing myself to take notes during calls to improve active listening skills. 
  • Meeting with my Manager to discuss how we use and apply Apprenticeship learnings.

2. Community 

  • Meeting with other members in my Apprenticeship cohort
  • Attending Lunch & Learns
  • Attending at least one Multiverse Event each week
  • Meeting with my Accountability Partner regularly
  • Setting up networking sessions with colleagues

3. Personal Development 

  • Completing internal workplace training on various topics
  • Shadowing senior colleagues and managers
  • Completing the AgilePM Course to improve my Project Management Skills
  • Podcasts / Books:
  • ‘Working Hard, Hardly Working’ - Book and Podcast - some episodes / chapters are applicable to leadership / management
  • ‘The How Of Happiness’ by Sonja Lyubomirsky - aids in my reflection and meditation to improve mental wellbeing
  • Ted Talk - free time, agile leadership, self doubt are three interesting talks that I have learnt a lot from
  • Reflection - I try to reflect upon my learning, and my own attitudes and behaviours that may impact my ability to progress in leadership and management.

Do you have any tips or tricks for fellow People Leadership Programme apprentices who may be currently struggling to keep on top of their OTJ/Professional Practice?

I think the main things that have helped me keep on top of my OTJ are:

  1. Schedule time to reflect upon your day on a daily basis.
  2. Schedule specific time to input your OTJ hours into the Platform. 
  3. Book at least one Multiverse Event each week that covers a topic you are interested in - even if you’re busy, this can be attended whilst doing other things by treating it as a Podcast. 
  4. When you are struggling with the OTJ: 
  5. Ask your Manager and Peers to help support you in your learning - book monthly check-ins to discuss your goals and ask for new opportunities. This conversation can be logged as OTJ, and any outcomes (such as leading team meetings, focussing on one area of development, implementing your strengths, etc.) can be logged as OTJ. 
  6. Meet with your fellow apprentices to discuss your experiences and help each other. 

For more tips and tricks on how to build your OTJ / Professional Practice, take a read of our Guide!

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