Christian McBride

Simply do it!

Kick-start your leadership career this National Apprenticeship Week

A UK business leader has encouraged others to follow in his footsteps, this National Apprenticeship Week, by pursuing a leadership qualification.

Christian McBride founded Genuine Solutions Group over twenty years ago, successfully growing his eco-conscious telecoms company from four employees to over one hundred people.

The company was recently named as one of the ‘Best Companies to Work For’ at the Mobile Industry Awards 2021. The organisation also holds B Corp Certification, thanks to their ongoing commitment to transparency, accountability, and sustainability.

But despite his continued successes in business, which included being awarded a fellowship by the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals, Christian’s firm commitment to continuous professional development and some self-reflection during the pandemic, led him to return to formal education for the first time in two decades.

Christian explains: “During the pandemic, it was a perfect opportunity for everybody to reflect. This also coincided with an interesting point in my life – turning 40 years old – and after careful consideration, I realised that despite my successes in business, I still didn’t have those formal leadership skills and theories.

“I saw returning to education as a golden opportunity to enhance my existing leadership skills and abilities, while adopting a growth mindset.”

After a period of market research, Christian entrusted Accipio to support him with his leadership development. He registered for Accipio’s Level 7 Senior Leaders apprenticeship.

Accipio are a multi-award-winning digital learning and leadership development agency based in London. They specialise in offering CMI-accredited leadership programmes and apprenticeships to support established and aspiring leaders to transform their careers.

The Level 7 Senior Leaders course suited Christian’s development needs ‘perfectly’. He said: “The content was written so well, and having access to The Hub, our digital learning portal, meant that I could access the course modules in my own time. Having that flexibility around my day-job was fantastic.

“Having ready access to the Accipio coaches was also amazing. It was so nice to talk to somebody objectively and receive that open and honest feedback. A respectful dialogue backwards and forwards.

“I wanted to pursue a qualification that would introduce new theories, tools, and models of leadership, that I could take back to Genuine Solutions and apply directly to my business, while also passing these skills on to other members of my Senior Leadership team.”

And that is exactly what Christian has accomplished. He achieved the top Distinction grade for his course, with the support of the coaching team at Accipio. But Christian’s commitment to enriching his leadership skills had an unexpectedly positive effect on other employees at Genuine Solutions Group.

Christian explains: “Since completing my course, other members of my Senior Leadership team have followed suit. One of my colleagues has successfully completed their Level 5 apprenticeship with Accipio and they are now undertaking a Level 7 course which is really rewarding to see.

“I think leading by example is so important in business, especially when it comes to professional development. If I’m taking it seriously, others will too.”

Christian has taken on a series of challenging non-executive roles throughout his career, both in the public and private sectors. Most recently, he was invited by the Prince’s Trust to begin mentoring young and aspiring business leaders of the future.

Christian said: “My role with the Prince’s Trust is so rewarding, being able to use my business experiences to give back to others and support them to grow in their careers. It really is a great privilege for me. It is so powerful to be able to see that growth in young entrepreneurs.”

Building on his mentorship role, Christian was also exposed to coaching and mentoring theories as part of his Level 7 qualification, and this helped to spark a new interest in developing his coaching skills further.

He has chosen to continue his formal leadership development and is due to begin his Level 5 Coaching Professional Apprenticeship with Accipio at the first available opportunity.

Christian added: “I’m looking forward to building on my coaching and mentorship skills this year, so with Accipio’s support, I will be undertaking a further CMI-accredited Coaching apprenticeship.

“Coaching is such a valuable skill as a leader. As part of any leadership model in business, I think coaching is a critical component and skill to have. If I can take these coaching skills back to Genuine Solutions, I’m confident the positive results will follow.

“I’m on a journey here, a journey of learning and development, and it is an ongoing process for me. Sitting still in business can have negative consequences, and I want to be ahead of the curve.”

Christian is now encouraging other leaders to follow in his footsteps, especially during National Apprenticeship Week, which runs in the UK between 5-11 February.

McBride concluded: “Simply do it! It can be easier said than done, but my advice to other leaders would be to commit to a qualification and go for it. As leaders, we can procrastinate and training or development can fall to the bottom of our to-do-lists, but we must invest in ourselves.

“Investing in ourselves is important, and by continually developing our skills, we can continue a growth trajectory for our businesses. So, simply do it.”

Are you interested in following in Christian’s footsteps and pursing a leadership qualification? Contact us to find out more and start your leadership journey today!

Your organisation could even pay just 5% towards the apprenticeship fee, thanks to the UK government’s Apprenticeship Levy.