Case Study: David Beck on the Leeds Executive Leadership Apprenticeship

Leeds University Business School delivers the Leeds Executive Leadership Level 7 Apprenticeship, an innovative programme for senior managers, designed to develop you and take you to the next level.

David Beck, Global Director E-mech & Passives at Farnell Global, is currently doing an apprenticeship and shares his experience. 

How did you find out about the apprenticeship? 

There were several of my colleagues and one of my team who asked to do this course, so I understood the content and how well it aligned with our business and my personal development expectations. Everybody I spoke to that completed this said it was relevant in further developing into leadership roles and gave them a great grounding in critical areas of leadership. 

Would you say that the different skills that you've been learning have helped you with leadership? 

Positive leadership has been good in terms of techniques and reinforcing a lot of what I do from a transformational leadership point of view. I think the digital business transformation and the strategy sessions were powerful as some of the recommendations that came from them were useful to take back to the organisation to give a different perspective on our digital transformations. 

The content is relevant and very useful in a practical sense, and I've taken a lot of things out of it in terms of the positive leadership content, which allowed me to identify where I could create that culture of empowerment within my team.  

What's the experience been like doing it through Leeds University Business School?  

I like it and I think the additional opportunity for the master’s uplift drew my attention to Leeds University Business School. Therefore I knew then it was the right option for me. I like the team environment as well. When you come in for the workshops you have an innovative environment with good technology that is delivered in a collaborative, well-structured and fluid environment. 

Would you recommend the apprenticeship to other businesses in your network? 

Absolutely! I think it's relevant for our business because every area is very applicable. However, for example, digital transformation isn't necessarily as prominent in some of the public sector areas we have worked through as the business is in the electronics world. So, it is important to consider whether it's relevant to your business needs. 

The digital transformation unit was extremely useful as we are using AI and machine learning tools and already doing these types of implementations within the business. If you're involved in the elements of the course in a leadership capacity, then it benefits you because it gives you the theory behind those elements. 

Throughout the apprenticeship, have you felt supported?  

Yes - my skills coach and has been really helpful. I've still got a bit to go, but he has been good at guiding my thinking on how to deliver content in the right way.   

The apprenticeship has allowed me to get out of a work environment where I’m not just focused on the job at hand which allows me to think more strategically outside of the work environment which I found helpful. It is also beneficial to separate the working week and spend the day with other apprenticeship students where we can go in and just focus on the learning, assignments, pebble pad etc which helps you to form bonds with other students but also support each other on your learning journey. 

Lastly, would you say you gained a wider network through this course? 

Yes, the network that I have become part of is great, and we have a WhatsApp group where we can talk about the course and assignments, work and even arrange social events together. We all have a common goal and share the same thinking. It has been good for connecting with people, and not only have I met some very smart and driven people, but some good friends too. 

The programme is designed to develop you as a leader and take you to the next stage of your career. Contact Kristen Cabrera-Uhl at to find out more about the Leeds Executive Leadership Level 7 Apprenticeship programme