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What happened when our CEO and an apprentice swapped roles for the week

To mark this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, our CEO David Gallagher completed a one-week job swap experience with one of our own apprentices, John-Joe Tams.  

Throughout the course of the week, David Gallagher and John-Joe – an accreditation apprentice – provided each other with a unique insight into their respective day-to-day duties and tasks.  

Gaining a different perspective 

The week started at NCFE’s head office in Quorum Park, where the job-swappers had a chance to meet and discuss the reality behind their roles and career journeys.   

David shared his own story with John-Joe:

“Personally, I didn’t go to university - straight out of college I worked for BT in a contact centre, and the on-the-job training I received there was very much like an apprenticeship and was invaluable to my future progression.”   

As the week continued, our Chief Executive went back to basics, getting a feel for John-Joe’s duties, such as answering customer service calls, dealing with queries and taking minutes in team meetings.   

Meanwhile, John-Joe got to experience sitting in the big seat with the close support of David and his Executive Team. The young apprentice from Seghill enjoyed getting the chance to co-chair a meeting on the Future of Work, alongside one of our Operations Directors. 

To close the week, David and John-Joe headed to County Durham apprenticeship provider Learning Curve Group to talk to other apprentices from the health industry, before taking part in a virtual celebration with our apprentices from across the organisation. 

Learning from each other 

When asked about how he’d found the job swap, John-Joe said:

“This week has been a great experience! I feel as though I’ve learned so much and I've already grown in confidence. I’m also getting a really interesting insight into what a CEO actually does.   

“I think we've both learned quite a lot from each other. I’ve been really surprised at just how laid back and friendly David is and how much time he’s had to answer my questions. This week has made me even more grateful to work for a company like NCFE.” 

David agreed that it had been a real learning experience for the pair:

“I’ve been really looking forward to this year’s National Apprenticeship Week – it’s been great getting to know our fantastic apprentices and the important work they do.  

“It felt like a reverse mentoring experience, and I think I actually learnt more from John-Joe than the other way round!” 

The role of apprenticeships 

When asked his thoughts on the role that apprenticeships can play within lifelong learning journeys, David said:

“I firmly believe that apprenticeships are key to overcoming the current skills crisis. At NCFE, we’re proud to develop apprenticeships in areas where there is a growing workforce need and exciting opportunities for career progression.   

“National Apprenticeship Week is an excellent way to shine a spotlight on the vital role apprentices play in so many of our businesses and the impact they have on our economy.”  

As well as the job swap, we packed National Apprenticeship Week with a vast range of activities, including an “Ask the Apprentice” session where we heard from both apprentices and employers, open discussions with some of our key partners such as the GMLPN, and the delivery of insightful webinars and virtual events. 

Apprenticeships help employers to develop skilled employees where they need them most in their workforce. We’re proud to provide an end-to-end apprenticeship solution that enables apprentices to achieve success.   

Read more about our end-to-end apprenticeship offer or watch the full video on our apprenticeship swap to hear more from David and John-Joe.


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