Boardroom Apprentice

CCEA Boardroom Apprentice: Clare GreenwoodCCEA Boardroom Apprentice: Clare Greenwood

CCEA is delighted to welcome Clare Greenwood to the CCEA Council as part of this year’s Boardroom Apprentice Programme.

Clare is an experienced business and marketing professional with a demonstrated history of working in the Higher Education Industry, and Skilled in Strategic Planning and Marketing Strategy.

She is currently Business Development Manager for Queen’s University, leading a team focussed on driving global student recruitment for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

We caught up with Clare to ask how her placement experience is going so far and to understand more about how she became involved with the Programme.

Can you tell us why you decided to apply for the Board Member Apprentice Programme?

The Apprentice Programme has been operating for five years now and I had read about some of its great outcomes and also met some of the past apprentices. I had always planned to apply, and I am grateful to have been successful for this year’s cohort.

How does your current background apply to the Scheme?

For the past six years I have been Business Development Manager within the Faculty of Arts, Humanity and Social Sciences at Queens University, Belfast. This role  involves Global Student Recruitment. Before that I was Director of Marketing and Communication for Employers for Childcare Charitable Group.

It has been through my work within the charitable, third, and education sectors that provided the interest to get involved and network at boardroom levels.

In all my job roles to date I have prepared papers and reported to various board members, but I was keen to obtain experience the responsibility of being a board member. I was also interested in exploring the perception that boardrooms can be male dominated.

What Training have you received as part of the programme?

There are 60 apprentice placements this year and, as part of the programme delivery, we meet every month and are trained in various areas, beneficial to making you trained board member. For example, training in Governance, Finance, Communication. In addition, we have been tasked with a team case study that we have to present to a panel at the end of our programme. In Apprentice style, my team have named themselves Embrace. We meet (online) every month to work on the project. We also take the opportunity to provide peer to peer support, to discuss our Boardroom placement areas. This is an invaluable resource, to have peer support.

Governance is an example of a topic area, and the training includes being briefed on the legalities relative to Board Membership together with discussion on case studies and interactive approaches to resolving Governance issues through role play. A team member may act as the Chairperson of the Board while others act as representatives pressing on concerns, all board members are made up of a variety of members, bringing a particular skill or background. It is through this practical approach that we explore and gain insight to the pressures and responsibilities that can be placed on Board Members.

Eileen Mullan is our training and programme contact and she is very hands on and approachable to all participants during the programme.

Tell us about working with CCEA Council Members

Even though, under the terms of the Programme, I am not an official voting member of the CCEA Council, I am actively consulted and involved with all Board business.

A few months prior to my first CCEA Council meeting I was able to meet some members of the Council including the Chairperson Tommy O’Reilly and Interim Chief Executive Margaret Farragher. I have been assigned a mentor Paula Leitch, she meets with me before and after board meetings to support with any questions around discussion points. I have been made to feel very welcome and supported. It was interesting to also meet Council member Sarah Sellars as she had completed the Boardroom Apprentice programme  also and has a wealth of knowledge to share.

To date, I have attended three Committee meetings and two full Council meetings; council two-day workshop, all online, and am looking forward to all future engagements the Council has.

What attracted you to the work of CCEA?

Upon applying for the Apprentice Board Member Programme, applicants are required to provide three rationales towards chosen available boards. Applicants are allocated to appropriate Boards based on this information. Therefore, applicants do not choose which Board they are appointed to during the programme delivery, so I am very lucky and delighted to have been appointed to CCEA.

Working with CCEA is providing me an opportunity to share my charity sector experience, my Marketing and Communication skills, my parental experience and provide new networking opportunities – all of which are attributable to the work CCEA completes as part of its corporate responsibilities.

Any tips for future applicants at this early stage?

Yes – be very organised!

My employer, Queen’s University Belfast, is very supportive of my apprentice placement and allows me to focus one full day a month to the Programme. I like to ensure I am fully prepared for all Board meetings and training workshops provided as part of the Programme. MS Office tools such as MS Teams are a great asset. Also, being with like-minded people is also a benefit as we are all experiencing the programme together, so our network continues to grow – which is invaluable.