Why choose an apprenticeship?

Kirby Mandziej - Operations/Departmental Manager Level 5

Summary: Management apprentice Kirby didn’t finish college or go to university, but that hasn’t stopped her from finding success in her career.

What led you to start your apprenticeship?

There are many reasons for embarking on an apprenticeship, however, I wanted to prove that there is no age limit to further education. Even at 30 years old, you can re-visit your academic learning.

I didn’t finish college or go to university, but this hasn’t left me at a disadvantage and I love that Carnival UK has given me this opportunity.

Please tell us your current job title and what a typical day for you would involve

In my current capacity, I am a Team Leader in the Training & Compliance department looking after Guest Experience ranks.

We ensure our Crew Members hold all of the right certifications to do their job to ensure they are compliant and meeting contractual arrangements, policies and legislative requirements.
I manage a team of two and we are mostly buried in spreadsheets, contacting our Crew Members, booking courses and managing unplanned activity.

How was/is your apprenticeship experience?

I started my Level 5 Operations/Department Manager Apprenticeship in October 2022. I am 1 year into the course and so far, I am thoroughly enjoying it!

After my off-site training, I take plenty of development and growth opportunities back to my manager/ team to implement or consider. I am sure this will continue the further into the Apprenticeship I get.

There is plenty of support at PETA as well as within the cohort you are working with.

What do you enjoy most about doing an apprenticeship?

That I am able to develop my learning even in my 30s however, it is more relevant to what I do. I am able to complete the apprenticeship aside my day-to-day work and able to tie the two in so you don't have additional work and stress.

I have met some great people and tutors along the way.

Where do you see yourself the next 5 years?

Ooh this is always a tough question. I have been very ambitious and said I would love to achieve a full degree in the next 5 years so hopefully I will have a Masters, have started a family and be happy at all that I have achieved to date!

Piece of advice you would give someone thinking of doing an apprenticeship?

Don't hesitate. Ask questions and explore the various training courses and opportunities.
I wasn't interested when I left school yet as I got older it was something I wanted to revisit.

There isn't a time limit on academic learning so if it is a goal you want to achieve, go for it!

How has an apprenticeship helped you progress within your role and company?

Since enrolling on the apprenticeship, I have been promoted into a management position which is a goal I had set out to achieve. It means I can put a lot of the learning into practice and helps shade the type of leadership style I want to adopt.

I have also been called upon to present topics covered in my course and been able to utilise the tools and techniques in our team meetings.