FEATURED APPRENTICE STORIES

Pearson UK

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Benjamin Peermamode-Murphy works with the Customer Experience team as a Continuous Improvement Apprentice, working towards improving customers experience of Pearson UK’s products and services.

Ben flipped overnight to remote working, establishing a routine and a regular place of work, surrounded by his family and juggling teaching responsibilities to his 10-year-old sister. He sourced additional technology to improve his working environment – and to help with work/ life balance created a home gym by clearing, painting and fitting out the garden shed!

Ben continued to work as normal with his team, collaborating virtually by video/ using collaboration tools to get the job done.

In addition, prior to lockdown, Ben had signed up to volunteer with a Charity called Sense who specialise in working with people living with disabilities that impact the way they communicate and experience the world. Specifically, he volunteers as a buddy working 1 to 1 with a young person with autism and behavioural challenges. Young people with these challenges can be impacted in the way they communicate with their peers, and sometimes can be left feeling isolated. Thats where being a buddy comes in, somebody who will listen and provide the opportunity for the young person to express themselves. They met for the first time just after we went into lockdown and continue to meet once a week (virtually) to catch up and play games such as virtual Pictionary, interactive quizzes or just to generally have a chit chat about whatever it is the young person is interested in – Ben’s buddy is very into ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) so they often watch videos of that together on youtube! Ben finds it very rewarding and has provided him with a nice sense of purpose throughout all the craziness of lockdowns etc!

Ben’s line manager is co-chair of Pearson’s ‘Spectrum UK’ (the employee resource group for LGBTQ+ colleagues and their allies), and for Pride month the Spectrum team ran weekly virtual quizzes to provide people with a bit of escapism but also an opportunity to learn. Ben researched the best tools to enable these events and – having decided upon the technology – then worked with our global Diversity & Inclusion office to secure funding for the licences required to make this a reality. The quizzes were a huge success and Ben was a wonderful host. Word spread fast across the organisation and so he was invited to support Pearson’s Veterans employee resource group.

Ben is working on the last elements of his apprenticeship, yet he always finds time to help other people in the business.  Once I learnt of his skills as a ‘quiz master’ I asked whether he would be able to support our ‘Veteran UK’ (employee resource group for former military and public sector employees).  He took it upon himself to design the background to the quiz (which was excellent), worked on the quiz questions and as quiz master managed a very diverse group of individuals including some very senior managers.  All with a sense of fun and competitiveness.  What is particularly impressive is not just the enthusiasm he demonstrates but also the commitment he gives.  He went out of his way to research some of the questions and put together a little potted history or explanation etc which really added to the richness of the quiz. 

A weekly Friday meeting with his peers has also been something that his fellow apprentices have been complimentary about, the support he provides motivates progressing towards end point assessment and achievement of the apprenticeship as well as checking in on everyone’s wellbeing.   

Ben has brought positivity to his weekly team meetings where non work conversations and the appearance of Leonardo the dog lifts people’s spirits. 

More recently, during Pearson’s Global Learning at Work Week, Ben has signed up for several Learning opportunities – one of which was organised by Spectrum UK, involving an external speaker and the charity Stonewall UK. Following this event, Ben has volunteered to host a virtual quiz as a follow-up activity to mark International Pronouns Day. Ben has a curiosity that has also increased his awareness of many inclusivity groups and issues, and he is currently planning a Black Trans Lives matter quiz. Upon investigating questions and some background information for the quiz he was surprised to find how little information there was in this area. This is inherently Ben and the nature of his thought process is to be inclusive and to raise awareness in the business.  

Ben also connects well with our customers and at the start of lockdown reached out to offer help and support. The Royal National College for the Blind were struggling with the unpredictability of dates for assessments and Ben developed a live documents to keep them updated at this time – providing ease of mind and clarity for the staff involved. 

Ben has done and is doing all of this whilst caring for his family, including his 10-year-old sister for whom he is integral to the school run. And at the same time, he is completing his degree apprenticeship (Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship) which is due to finish in April 2021.