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Q&A with Mark Thomson, Graduate Apprenticeship mentor at TAQA

Friday 05 March 2021

Mark Thomson Web
Mark Thomson is currently mentoring Tanya Geraghty who is undertaking a Graduate Apprenticeship in Business Management while working at TAQA. He recently took some time to answer some questions about his experience as a mentor.

Can you please tell us about your role at TAQA?

I am the Planning and Cost Control Manager

How did you hear about / become involved with the GA scheme? 

I put my name forward to become a mentor through TAQA’s mentoring scheme and from there I was paired up with Tanya and found out she wanted to apply for the GA scheme. After reading up about the scheme I was keen to support it, it’s a great opportunity for Tanya’s career development.

How have you found it so far?

There is a lot of work involved for the student? and my main concern initially was balancing the demands of the academic work with Tanya’s role here at TAQA. However, through effectively managing and prioritising both her university and TAQA workloads, Tanya has set herself up for success. The ‘on the job’ activities have been made slightly harder since we’re all working remotely, however there has been a very good uptake from various teams across the TAQA business willing to take time out with Tanya and give that vital work experience the GA scheme is all about.

Do you think the current situation with Covid-19 has affected the GA experience and if so, how?

If we were still in the office it would make the practical on the job training easier. There is also the social side to university that Tanya has missed out on so far.  Meeting up with her peers and lecturers in person has not been possible to date, however this has been replaced with virtual meetings and various WhatsApp groups. However, with less face to face meetings, it has also given Tanya the additional time to focus on her university work, while balancing her work priorities.  

Do you think GAs are valuable to the employer? If so, why?

Absolutely, the skills and knowledge Tanya is gaining through the scheme can only be a good thing for the employer. The on the job activities also broaden the GAs knowledge and understanding of the business and gives a real opportunity for the employer to benefit from what the GAs learn through the scheme.

Do you feel this is a positive change in learning in the workplace?

Yes, as long as the employer is willing to give the GAs the time and support they need to undergo the scheme it benefits both the GA and their employer in the long run.



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