Dr Deepak Ravindran
Medical Consultant, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and the CMI Apprentice of the Year 2021
Apprenticeships aren’t simply the preserve of junior employees. Professional training is also available for senior leaders to enable them to become more effective managers.
There’s an assumption that all senior professionals — such as engineers, architects, accountants, or doctors — must be good at managing people. But that’s simply not the case, says Dr Deepak Ravindran, a Medical Consultant in anaesthesia and pain management at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.
“In 2016/17, when I became the clinical lead in my department, I knew there were gaps in my management knowledge,” he says. “That’s because things like leadership skills, how to manage budgets, work with stakeholders, or increase a team’s performance aren’t taught in any formal manner at medical school. It was then I realised I would benefit from a management leadership course.”
So, in 2019, Dr Ravindran began a three-year Level 6 Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship at Henley Business School, supported and fully funded by his employer. Teaching was mostly carried out online with occasional face-to-face classes (before the pandemic). During this time, Dr Ravindran continued to carry out his medical duties, which meant he could immediately apply his new skills in the workplace. “Apprenticeship programmes are an important way to upskill staff,” he says. “But they are good for employers, too, because they provide an organisation with new ideas, skills and innovation — and, ultimately, a better company culture.”
After my apprenticeship I think I’ve become a more reflective practitioner who is better able to understand and collaborate more effectively with colleagues.
Making a positive difference to an individual’s leadership abilities
Dr Ravindran believes that the apprenticeship has made a big difference to his management style. “As a clinician I always thought I had the right answer,” he says. “But after my apprenticeship I think I’ve become a more reflective practitioner who is better able to understand and collaborate more effectively with colleagues.”
It has also made an enormous difference to his work. For example, Dr Ravindran recently had the opportunity to set up a long COVID clinic — one of 89 such clinics in the UK. “By understanding the needs of patients and stakeholders in different organisations, I’ve been able to co-author a policy paper, secure funding and people engagement to support those with long COVID,” he says. “I don’t think that outcome would have been possible without my new management and leadership abilities.”
He could have completed other management courses, but Dr Ravindran chose an apprenticeship which offered Chartered status, which can only be achieved by completing a CMI course. “It also includes CMI (Chartered Management Institute) membership which gives me access to valuable resources, support and mentorship to help me continue my learning. The whole experience has been transformative.”