Charlie Sykes (Aykroyd) (ILF2018)


Institution: University of Adelaide
Course: Professional Management Program

I have always been encouraged to further my education and continue learning, so when the ILF Grant opportunity became available I jumped at it. I had been introduced to Geoff and the Industry Leaders Fund through a previous scholar who noted the application process and continued education had been a highlight of her career.

This introduction to the ILF collided with a recent promotion within our company so I was immediately intrigued. I was ready for the challenge of my new career opportunity, excited to implement change and take the company into the future. Whilst I was mentally prepared for this challenge I knew I wanted to delve into new skills of negotiation, strategy exploration and implementation, extend my finance knowledge, and learn from other leaders in business. This introduction to the ILF could not have come at a better time as I knew I wanted to extend my skills, but wasn’t sure how I might afford the time.

The first part of the process included applying for an ILF grant and becoming an ILF scholar. The application in itself was a fantastic opportunity, it forced me into completing a CV that I hadn’t done in years, prepare for an interview and really understand why I thought further education was so important for my development in my career and personal life. I was extremely thankful and fortunate for the guidance and exploration during this application process that allowed me to consider different learning opportunities. In the end I decided to elect the Professional Management Program as my preferred option to be completed at the University of Adelaide. This course is a 1 year program with 7 different subjects, reflecting an MBA style. This peaked my interest as I got to learn from the MBA lecturers and teachers, but with a shorter program length.

Upon receiving the ILF grant, I applied for the next intake of the Professional Management Program in January 2019. With intensive mini courses and assignments the course allowed me to explore various topics all aligned to leadership and management. Whilst I had completed some leadership courses, I was really interested in the management and finance courses that were made available to me. Not only were the subjects and academic level excellent, but the participants were also an extremely valuable part of my experience. I studied throughout the year with the same cohort so I was able to become very close with these individuals and I learnt so much from them all.

During the course and at the completion, I continually reflected on my learnings. I have actively shared these learnings, course work and articles with my colleagues. This has ensured our teams can continue to develop and grow so we can adapt and change to continue being a strong company into the future. The benefit to our company from me completing this course is already evident with changed learnings and habits evident.

I am extremely thankful and fortunate for the opportunity that was provided to me by Geoff and the Industry Leaders Fund. I highly recommend anyone considering applying for an ILF grant into the future.

Andrew Sluggett