Before starting to work at Raise the Bar I had partnered with them previously in a different role and loved their ethos and passion even back then. They had been very different in their approach to other partners we worked with and worked alongside me to give my clients and delegates a first class experience, so when I was contacted about the role I was immediately interested as I know my values aligned and I felt I could make a difference, never imagining the journey we would go on together over the next few years.
I started with Raise the Bar back in 2019 as a part time Account Manager, I had taken some time away from work over the Summer of 2019 due to personal bereavements and a part time role fitted around what I needed at that time with my family.
In 2020 the Apprenticeship Division of Raise the Bar underwent a lot of change, some linked to Covid, and other areas were linked to improvement plans that we had put in place. Early in 2020 I went up to 4 days a week and finished the year full time, during that time the team expanded and changed too.
My role changed from Account Manager to Apprenticeship Operations manager and a leadership team was put in place within Apprenticeships that I led. I am now Head of Apprenticeships and on our Executive Board within Raise the Bar and our team has gone from strength to strength with some difficulties along the way but coming out stronger every time.
My team are amazing, we jokingly refer to ourselves as the “Dream Team” but for me that couldn’t be more accurate, every single member of the team adds value, ideas, challenges, cares and supports each other and there is nothing more that I could ask of them. They have helped me become a better manager as I hope I have developed & impacted them.
Hi! My name is Courtney and I am a Client Solutions Manager here at Raise the Bar (a posh title for Sales), it is my role to meet with new clients and promote our amazing services. This tends to have a focus on Apprenticeships, but I also love getting involved in our commercial programmes too and anything else I can get involved in! I am approaching my 2 years at Raise the Bar, it feels like I have been here forever and I have never looked back since I joined.
I had always seen a lot of Raise the Bar and really liked the brand and the offer, I couldn’t believe it when Tina had contacted me for a conversation on a role that had come up! I had a great conversation with Tina who really sold the absolute dream, I was sure there was a catch! After my 2 interviews I just knew what Tina had told me was true. Everyone I met was just so genuine and seemed to really care about the staff, but also the brand. I just knew I wanted to be a part of this company! I still could not believe it when I was offered the role!
Work life balance to me is really important, mainly because I am a working mum with a 2 year old terror! My daughter will always come first and this organisation has been the first in my short time of being a working parent, that has really understood this. I have never felt worried or concerned about putting something in my diary un-work related, things like doctor appointments and special activities at nursery. My manager has always been clear to me that we manage our own diaries.
My team is just the best. We work hard but most importantly we have a laugh, I thoroughly enjoy it when we get together – the office stays empty when we are in!
The biggest perk of working at Raise the Bar for me is the culture, EVERYONE in this business is passionate, supportive, and dedicated to achieving common goals. We really are the dream team!
I have grown so much personally, and professionally within my time so far at Raise the Bar. I am supported by many of the execs within my role and I have also undergone some coaching with one of the founders. Professionally I have also completed our Empower programme and now I’m currently learning on Change Catalyst! I am excited for what is to come next!
Joining Raise the Bar has been an absolute game-changer in my career journey. After years in the world of recruitment and arming myself with a masters and CIPD L7, I was on the hunt for that elusive first HR role. Lo and behold, Raise the Bar handed me not just any role, but an opportunity to dive headfirst into the HR universe, looking back I was very green!
You’ve heard the phrase “sink or swim”?. From day one, I was tackling every aspect HR, and not just that, we have doubled in size which has certainly kept me busy. Some people more than others, they know who they are! I’ve got to give a shoutout to Tina she joined about a year after me and I couldn’t have done it without her.
HR isn’t an easy ride and that’s where Raise the Bar comes in. They’ve had my back every step of the way, trusting and supporting me (and the rest of the team) to make decisions and learn as we go. And there is still so much for us to achieve as we continue to grow, innovate, and diversify.
Looking back, it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come. Raise the Bar didn’t just offer me a job they offered me a crash course in all things HR and I’m all the better for it.
After spending 21 years at a massive international IT company, I came to a realisation – IT just wasn’t my cup of tea. So, with a bit of courage and took a gigantic leap of faith, I said farewell to the IT world. With no clue about my next move or even what I wanted to do, I joined a large Further Education company, taking on a compliance role for a year. But lightning didn’t strike twice, and I knew it was time to move on once again.
This time around, I wanted something thrilling, fast paced, something that ignited my passion and made every day worthwhile. Luckily, I had a few connections at Raise the Bar, and word had it that they urgently needed some admin support. I offered to lend a helping hand for a couple of months while I figured out my next adventure. Little did I know that within a couple of weeks, I would discover my true calling – I fell head over heels in love with admin work! Who knew Admin could be so exciting! I loved what I was doing and wanted to stay and work for Raise the Bar. Thankfully, they were happy to have me on board. That was 2 and a half years ago, and now I am a fully-fledged member of the Dream Team and I haven’t looked back since.
Everything about Raise the Bar seemed to perfectly align with what I had been searching for. As a small company – things happen at lightning speed. There’s direct contact with management and decision-makers, and the opportunities for promotion come knocking faster because you’re more visible. Plus, there’s an immense sense of pride as you witness firsthand the results of your contributions, something that’s often hard to come by in larger organisations.
The company values at Raise the Bar resonate with my own, and the people are all amazing. Everyone is friendly, happy, and genuinely passionate about what they do.
As for my own progression, it was a whirlwind journey. Within a few months of starting in an admin role, I was swiftly promoted to Admin Manager and eventually landed the incredible position I hold today – Head of Business Support, leading an exceptional team of admins.
Together, we keep the gears turning seamlessly across various functions and get to be a part of some really exciting projects. Honestly, I consider my role at Raise the Bar to be one of the best because, in this central position, I work closely with different departments and have fabulous relationships with my colleagues.
The diverse range of responsibilities that have come my way over the years has given me exactly what I was looking for, I love the fast pace, the variety, and the collaboration and I’m forever grateful that my days are now spent wishing for more hours rather than waiting for the clock to strike the end of the day.
The perks at Raise the Bar include something for everyone, from super flexible working to allow for a perfect work-life balance, unlimited holidays – I have definitely taken advantage of this one over the years! We also have a great social culture with team building activities, a book club, fitness club, whatever you are into, there will be a club for you to be part of! Every day is different for me, and every day I love being part of the Dream Team, I just wish I had joined sooner!
My sister is a Senior Coach at Raise the Bar and when she was at home she never stopped talking about work. This included how happy she was and how she had never worked anywhere so supportive of her professional and personal life. I had been with my employer nearly 11 years, I had some great friends there but had never been given any support to develop myself. I’d had two one to ones in 11 years (yes 2!) and there was absolutely nowhere to progress in the business.
When the opportunity came up to apply for a role at RTB, I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately I wasn’t successful, but only because they felt I was too experienced for the role. I appreciated this, as it showed that they don’t just employ people for the sake of employing them. A few months passed and another opportunity came up and they contacted me to ask if I was interested. I definitely was! A few weeks later, I started a role in the Knowsley office as EPA Co-Ordinator/Invigilator. Unfortunately Covid had other ideas, and 4 days after starting I was sent home with my laptop ‘for a couple of weeks’.
Fast forward to more than three years later, I never returned to the office (thanks Covid) but now work from home as the EPA Manager, working my way up from the EPA Co-ordinator role to manage a team of two EPA Coaches, ensuring the learner’s journey ends as well as it started.
I’ve completed three separate qualifications in the last 9 months and am half way through my fourth, RTB’s very own Managing Equality and Diversity ILM accredited programme.
The support and encouragement I have received from the management and my colleagues at RTB is second to none. I have grown in confidence and knowledge in the last two years and have always felt like part of the family.
14th February 2011. For many it was just another Valentine’s Day, for me it was my first day in my career as a coach, or, as I was known then, an NVQ Assessor. I’d worked in hospitality for 10 years before this, starting at the Hilton Hotel Coventry in the housekeeping department at 16 years old. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I was older, and I moved through various roles in the hospitality industry whilst I completed a GNVQ in Leisure and Tourism at sixth form, and then went on to do a HND in Travel and Tourism Management at college.
When doing the HND, we were billed as the next generation of Travel Agents, and every time I heard it I remember thinking that I definitely didn’t want to be one of them, but it was a natural progression from my GNVQ, and in all honesty I didn’t know what else I wanted to do, but I knew I wasn’t ready to go into full-time employment and wanted to carry on in education. As part of this course, I completed a 6-week management programme around the different departments at the Hilton Hotel, not realising then the impact this would have in my employment in later life.
Fast forward 10 years and I was still working in the hotel industry having moved up North, but I wasn’t enjoying it and wanted a change. I was unhappy and, after a change in management, didn’t feel like their values aligned with mine. I was talking to a friend one day and telling her how unhappy I was and she told me that she was an NVQ Assessor and her organisation were taking on, telling me to send my CV in. I’d completed NVQ’s myself during my time in hospitality and that was the extent of my knowledge of them, but the company put me through my assessor qualification, and I quickly got into the role and loved it. After 5 years I was made redundant when the company closed down. I quickly got a job with another provider, this time based in Wales, and their aim was to break into England to deliver here, however after 18 months they changed their mind and I found myself redundant again. This is where my journey with Raise the Bar started.
2nd September 2018 I walked into the office of RTB not really knowing what to expect. I knew at my interview that this place was special, and wasn’t going to be just your average training provider, when I saw the volume of resources spread out on the table in front of me. I’d been told they’d spent a year putting the apprenticeship programmes together and were now ready to start delivering them. This immediately made me realise that quality was high on their agenda. They wanted to know what they were doing before actually doing it, and this gave me the confidence that they weren’t just a ‘bums on seats’ type of organisation, like I’d worked for in the past. Having delivered numerous NVQ’s in the past, such as Business Admin and Customer Service, I asked the question of why RTB were only delivering L3 and L5 Management Apprenticeships and I remember Steve the Director saying ‘Because it’s what we know best’. This was another positive for me as it showed me how serious they were about delivering these programmes.
My first cohort was with a local council, and 3 and a half years later I am still working with that client, having put numerous cohorts of learners through their L3 Apprenticeships. I’m not going to say the first cohort went perfectly. It was our first full cohort of learners and there were challenges to overcome. This was a huge learning journey, but as per one of our values, we owned it and learned from it. We have a very open and honest culture at RTB. Everyone can speak up and you will be listened to, in fact its actively encouraged to give your feedback on anything and everything that we do. This was very new to me to begin with. I was used to management making all the decisions and just being told what I had to do with no say in the matter. Finally, I had found a place that didn’t just see me as another employee – I was listened to, I was consulted in decision making, I was valued.
Just over 2 years into my role at RTB the position of Account Manager became available. I loved my role as coach but felt ready for a new challenge. On this occasion I wasn’t successful due to lack of operational management experience within the training provider industry. To help me gain this experience I was given the responsibility of managing the account of the council I worked with, having built up a great relationship with the client so far. I was then asked to be the ‘New Coach Mentor’ and provide support for all new coaches that joined us. I really enjoyed helping develop the new starts, making sure they felt supported and welcomed at RTB. These opportunities were put in place for me to gain the experience needed to be able to apply for a future Account Manager role if this was the route I wanted to take. During this time the role of End Point Assessment Lead came up.
Having put many people through EPA by this stage, and having a good understanding of the process, I decided to apply for the role and was successful. This was a dual role and meant I could continue with the coaching that I loved, as well as develop in another area. Having done this for the last 6 months, and really enjoyed it, the position of Account Manager came up again and I initially didn’t even consider applying. I loved my coaching, and I loved my EPA Lead role, so why would I want to change? Then a conversation with my line manager changed my whole outlook. Another positive of working for RTB is that they are HUGE on developing their staff (you’d think this would be a given for training providers, but I can tell you from experience that it is definitely not always the case!). My line manager asked me why I hadn’t applied, and I told her the truth – I loved my current dual role. Having not been successful two years previous, I was probably unconsciously afraid of not getting it again. And then she talked to me about everything I had done since the last time I applied and made me realise I was in a very different position to back then. So, I applied.
I had to complete an interview and hold a mock client call with a presentation included. I kept telling myself it didn’t matter if I wasn’t successful because it’s not like I was unhappy in my dual role, but the more I prepared and the closer it got to the interview, the more I wanted it. Maybe it’s the fact I’m turning 40 this year (not sure how that’s happening to be honest, I’m definitely NOT ready for that) or the fact I know RTB is the place I want to work for the rest of my working years, but after sitting the interview and presentation I knew I would be devastated to not get the role. Thankfully that didn’t happen, and last week, after 11 years of assessing and coaching, I was told I had been successful and would be transitioning first into a Senior Coach role to eventually become a full-time Account Manager within the next 12 months. I still have a caseload of learners and I love that I will be able to get them complete whilst working towards the Account Manager role, and that I will be supported and developed over the next 12 months to ensure I am completely ready and prepared to do the new role.
Writing this blog has made me look back on all the managers I’ve had in the past and understand the impact or effect their different management styles have had on me. From my first job at the Hilton Hotel where I had a manager that I called my work mum (and 24 years later I still do as I still see her), to the management I had at the hotel up North that helped me understand the type of manager I definitely didn’t want to be, I have a greater clarity on just how important it is to manage people right. The new role means I will be managing clients and coaches, rather than learners, and it’s a role that I am definitely ready for. And I have great role models to learn from at Raise the Bar.
I am a Development Coach at Raise the Bar. My time here so far has flown by and I am enjoying every second.
In the first two weeks everyone was so lovely and explained that they would go through all the information as many times as I needed.
The biggest thing I have noticed is that everyone has a voice. It is not a case of us being told what to do but it is about involving us and we are encouraged to voice our ideas on what we think would make something more effective and we are listened to. There is no such thing as a silly idea. This is one of the biggest positives for working here.
Everyone, including Senior Management are so welcoming, the culture is about us being one team and working at our best for our learners.
My name is Ange, and I bring more than 20 years of experience in the apprenticeship industry to my role as a development coach at Raise the Bar.
At Raise the Bar, I support learners through our Level 3 and Level 5 Women in Leadership, Level 3 Excelling in Team Leadership and Level 5 Excelling in Operational Management apprenticeships.
I have been a part of the Raise the Bar team for the past 6 months now.
Despite working remotely, our team is closely connected, and we always have someone ready to provide support whenever it is needed. This close-knit dynamic ensures a collaborative and helpful work environment.
Personally, I find great satisfaction in remote working as it allows me to be at home and eliminates the daily commute, saving me from spending half my day stuck in traffic.
From a long stint in retail to becoming a development coach and landing a role at Raise the Bar, that is where I found a fulfilling and supportive environment.
Transitioning careers can be challenging and very scary but also a very rewarding experience, one I have personally never looked back on.
Discovering a workplace with a culture that aligns with my values and allows me to grow professionally is where I have been able to progress from a development coach to an account manager, all within my first 2 ½ years at Raise the Bar.
The whole company works as one team; caring, sharing and working towards the same goal – demonstrating dedication to helping individuals and organisations to grow and develop.