Mandy Cooper is the Highlights Editor for TV Times magazine at Future, the global platform for specialist media.

In January 2020, she was given new responsibilities as a manager, and shortly after she embarked on the People Leadership apprenticeship programme.


Working in print magazines sometimes means contending with tight budgets, and that means there isn’t a lot left over for personal development and training. Fortunately, in early 2020, TV Times - where I work as the Highlights Editor - was acquired by Future Plc. Future was making a large scale investment into its people via a new apprenticeship programme, and I signed up to be on the first cohort.

Earlier that year, my own line manager had quit and so I found myself promoted up and managing a small team. It was exciting to suddenly be in this management position, but I’d never trained as a manager and never been one before. I was only ever used to managing myself - not other people.

I’d always seen management as something that I’d be capable of, and enjoy, but I did have a lot of uncertainties. I’d gone from part-time, while raising a family, to full-time and I was suffering with a bit of imposter syndrome.

I saw the People Leadership programme as an opportunity to develop skills in management, but crucially to boost my confidence as a professional and as a leader.

The programme, so far, has been fantastic. It’s a great way of meeting people within the business - especially as we’ve been remote. The coaches and workshops have given me some great tools for managing my team, and I’m learning skills in other areas such as ‘managing up’ and working with the leadership. It’s given me a lot of confidence to take ownership of my job.

I’ve definitely noticed a change in myself: I’m more assertive, able to delegate and manage my time. These are the sorts of skills that a lot of new managers take time to develop, and they learn on the job, so I’m pleased to have had formal training while learning and applying on the job.

I’m also getting more opportunities, and just recently I managed a recruitment process to hire a new member of my team. That’s something I hadn’t got the chance to do before.

The other big benefit I get from the programme is the ability to speak to other new managers in the same position as me on my cohort. We share resources and give each other advice on the issues that crop up in our work and on the programme. It feels like a network that will continue to be helpful even after the programme is complete.

There’s definitely been challenges for me going back to studying after some time off. For one, I didn’t have a maths GCSE so I’ve been studying for that alongside the programme. It’s been a long time since I’ve studied maths, so it’s a bit of a challenge fitting in the extra work. But I have even found that I’ve enjoyed studying that more than I thought I would. I’m a creative person, so it’s helping me think a bit more critically and logically.

Multiverse is really good at putting you in contact with other people who are in the same situation as you or who might be feeling the same way, so you always feel very supported throughout the course. Having 1-1 coaching is a privilege as well. I thought I’d never find time to do it all - but somehow you find a way. Part of that is definitely learning new skills for time management from the course, too.

If anyone is anxious about returning to studying, I’d absolutely reassure them that Multiverse really looks after you and you grow as you go!

And I’d definitely recommend a programme like this. There’s a tremendous amount of satisfaction that you feel, and it’s good for - not just your current role - but your future career. If you have the opportunity to enrol on a programme like this, without a doubt go for it - you’ll surprise yourself!

Read more: Future expands leadership apprenticeship programme after productivity spike