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Head of Sales Slater Jinkinson on What to Expect from VFE’s Master’s Degree Support Programme

16 December 2021 /

Head of Sales Slater Jinkinson shares his experiences on the VFE Master’s Degree support programme. Read on to find out what he’s learned and how he’s benefitting.

“I’m always looking to better myself”, reveals Slater. “I think a lot of people can relate to that, but not everyone works for a company that encourages them to actually achieve it. VFE has gone above and beyond to support my learning, fully funding my MBA and giving me time out of my working week to dedicate to the course.”

Slater is just one of a number of individuals from across the company to benefit from its management training schemes, which include senior executive apprenticeships, business administration courses and structured engineering apprenticeship programmes.

What has Slater learned from his studies, how is he benefitting and why does VFE’s senior leadership team feel it’s so important to provide these schemes in the first place? 

‘Giving you the confidence you need to grow’

While he is only three months into the course, Slater is already feeling its benefits on his personal and professional development.

“Since starting the MBA, I’ve spoken with so many senior people from other companies”, he explains. “You need at least five years of managerial experience to qualify for the MBA, so everyone on the course is in some sort of senior role: directors, senior managers, owners of small businesses, and all from different backgrounds, industries and walks of life. Even the group discussions between lectures are really stimulating. I’m really enjoying myself.” 

His first module was on personal effectiveness, which involved looking inwards at motivation theory and the relationship between motivation, learning and progressing.

“When you start asking all of these questions like 'what am I motivated by?' and 'why am I doing this?', it really opens your mind. At the same time, I feel like I’m building up a strong baseline of foundational knowledge. That makes me feel much more confident, about my studies but also my day-to-day working life and my professional future.”

Slater Jinkinson, head of sales, VFE

He has also just finished a strategic marketing module, the output of which has highlighted how VFE also benefits from its Master’s Degree support programmes. 

“We've covered lots of marketing theory, such as segmentation techniques. It's so interesting to be learning about these topics in the context of VFE and applying them back. I already have ideas brewing in my head about how we could take our marketing forward. And going back to the motivation topics, by looking at different types of motivators, we could re-examine our company policies to make sure people are feeling motivated when they're first starting with us — and staying motivated over the course of their time at VFE.”

The coursework and assignments that Slater and his classmates complete focus almost exclusively on their own companies, giving Slater vital context for his learnings while helping him to apply them back to VFE with the potential to improve business operations for the company and its customers.

Find out more about how VFE has adapted its operations to support its customers

What kind of support has VFE offered?

As part of its Master’s Degree support programme, VFE has fully financed Slater’s MBA, taking away any financial worries and freeing up Slater to concentrate on the course itself. Not only that, but they have also allocated 20 percent of his working hours to his studies, an entitlement that aims to improve his work/life balance by reducing the course’s impact on his personal time.

“As well as the MBA, I’ve enrolled on a senior executive apprenticeship through the university”, Slater reveals. “I’m only a few months into both courses, but being able to spend a fifth of my working week attending lectures or researching and carrying out assignments is making a huge difference already. Of course, my studies spill into my evenings and weekends as well, but having that time protected at work is really taking the edge off.”

“I want to keep on progressing my career as much as I can”

For Slater, the drivers behind his decision to enroll on a master’s degree were twofold. 

“On the one hand, our former CEO, David Byrne, has always been a huge advocate for MBAs'', Slater explains. “I’ve worked with him for a number of years now and he’s always encouraged me in that direction. As I moved from regional sales management into a head of department role, it felt like the ideal opportunity for me to take the next step in my education.”

At the same time, the decision was driven by Slater and his professional ambitions.

“I’m still young, with the majority of my career ahead of me. I want to keep on progressing as much as I can, perhaps becoming a sales director or managing director one day. The more I read into the MBA, and the more I spoke to David and other colleagues who’d gone down the master’s degree route, the more I felt like it was the right decision for me.”

“Over the years, we’ve invested significantly in the ongoing training and development of our teams. In 2020, we opened a state-of-the-art training centre for continuous development, and we support all our employees’ development plans, with a focus on training opportunities and management training programmes (MBA & MSc).”

David Byrne, former CEO, VFE

VFE has long recognised that its people are at the core of its business. The Master’s Degree support programme reflects the company’s commitment to the team’s personal growth and development, promoting excellence within its own business and the wider industry.

The most effective personal development plans are those that align with both employees’ interests and those of the organisation. In its Master’s Degree support programme, VFE has embraced an initiative that benefits both the people’s development and that of the company.

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