In June 2021, Mountain Warehouse launched a People Leadership apprenticeship program in collaboration with Multiverse. The People Leadership Programme trains managers to develop a high-performing team capable of making a big impact.

During the 15-month apprenticeship, managers and future leaders at the company who are currently working on the shop floor spend 20% of their time developing skills such as change management, coaching and leading for impact.

Training is delivered by Multiverse, a startup tech company building an outstanding alternative to university and corporate training through apprenticeships.

Having spent more than a decade in retail and eight years in leadership positions, Emma Willatt - from Devon - was sceptical about enrolling on a leadership training program. But she found it taught her new skills about leading a team that she will take into her career.

Emma's story

I’ve been with Mountain Warehouse for 3 years - and before that I worked at Hobbycraft. I first moved into a management position about 8 years ago.

I was definitely a bit dubious when Mountain Warehouse offered me a place on the People Leadership Programme. I thought I knew everything about management because I've always got results before. And years ago, I’d done a training programme about retail that wasn’t very helpful. I decided to do it, because it was a good opportunity to get a qualification.

Now, I’m 7 months into the programme and I think it’s great. I’m so glad I got involved. Right in the very first module, delegation skills came up - and I realised this was an area I needed to develop in. I like to do everything by myself, but I realised that my team might perceive this as me not trusting them. Now I’m much better at delegating tasks.

It was tricky at first to balance work and study, but it really helps that everything you learn you can put into practice straight away. I do one day a week of studying, and I usually do it home.

The programme hasn’t just been good for me - now that I’m a better leader I’ve been able to better support the development of my team. I’ve learnt new ways to manage different people, and I’m able to connect with members of my team and get great results from everyone.

My Multiverse coach is amazing. I’m never afraid to ask her questions - even if they seem obvious - and she always gets back to me. The community has been great. I’ve just joined the Elevate programme, and the peer support programme. It’s sparked my interest in people leadership and personal development.

This programme has helped open up my options for the next step in my career. I’d really like to go into leadership and development, and work on initiatives across the business. I think that everyone should do it!

Emma's top tip

My top tip for people considering an apprenticeship is to get stuck in, it’s so beneficial. Go for it, even if you don’t think you have any more to learn - I can guarantee you’ll learn more than you imagine.