Apprentice of the Year nominee – Frances Evans

Apprentice of the Year nominee – Frances Evans
Posted on 23.05.24
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Apprentice of the Year nominee – Frances Evans

Frances Evans returned to education over the age of 40 and is currently studying for a degree apprenticeship with Staffordshire University alongside her job leading the housing benefit team at Walsall Council.

She is currently on track to graduate with first class honours from her Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship despite juggling her studies, a full-time job and caring for her two neurodivergent teenagers and a toddler.

Frances has been nominated as Apprentice of the Year in the Staffordshire University Business Awards.

Neil Hollyhead, Customer Engagement Lead for Walsall Council, said: “As a busy mom, a senior manager in a demanding environment and an apprentice all at once Fran has to work in the evenings and weekends and balance her learning around her family life.

“Fran absolutely thrives on this challenge, and in recent modules achieved 94 on an assignment with her lecturer saying it was the highest mark she’d ever given!

“Fran is one of the most open and caring individuals I have ever met, and despite all these pressures she always has time for others. Her children have varying diagnoses and due to her experiences Fran wanted to help other parents with newly diagnosed autistic children, previously training as a Cygnet practitioner to help other parents.

“She is the go-to person at work for anyone with a problem, and passionately enjoys sharing her academic learning with other colleagues to help them and associated teams improve. She is an absolute pleasure to work with and it has been my honour to mentor her on this apprenticeship programme.”

Tina Allen, Course Director for Apprenticeships at Staffordshire University, said: “I had the privilege of teaching Frances for her first module and from her first day it was evident that Fran’s motivation and positivity was going to be a driving force in her success.

“Throughout her learning journey to date she has demonstrated a high level of progression, commitment and professional development on the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. Throughout this apprenticeship, Frances has attacked her studies whole heartedly and maintained grades of 70+ for each module to ensure she reaches her aspirational grade of a first-class honours degree.

“Her approach to her studies, and the knowledge transfer and application in the workplace has been outstanding. As a result, Frances has gained promotion at work.

“Fran continues to champion the CMDA and uses her experience to inspire and motivate other potential CMDA apprentices. Fran is a testament to the creativity and ambition of our university.

“Through work-based education she has ensured she can apply those skills at work to enable her employer to achieve their goals and equip colleagues with the skills they need in a rapid and challenging sector through professional leadership and management.”

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