Coming of Age at TIHR

Coming of Age at TIHR

Marking time: reflections on TIHR’s apprenticeship programme.


14 September 2015

Marking time: reflections on TIHR’s apprenticeship programme.

This video was created as part of the internal evaluation data to compliment the findings and shed light on the experience of being apprentices at the Tavistock Institute in a way that text on its own cannot.

The previous article in this series on apprenticeships outlined the process and findings of the formal evaluation of the apprenticeship programme we are running at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR). The third year of the programme is about to start, Pauline’s two years at the TIHR are coming to an end and Nick is halfway through his time here.  We thought this article could provide the space to reflect on our experiences in a more personal way. We hope to give a flavour of how we as apprentices have grown and developed during this time and what TIHR means to us.


My time at TIHR has been divided between two feelings: excitement and anxiety. I’ve had many highlights but what comes with that in a learning environment is a pressure to grow and to get the best experience out of my time as possible.

It was a difficult environment to ingratiate myself into first of all. With 25 members of staff who take on a workload of superhuman/metaphysical levels, it could often be quite daunting to ask for extra time to help me along but this was a manifestation in my own head. There’s so much support and so many different avenues to help you to learn and progress. I think all of it will be useful for me in going forward onto University or whatever it is that I decide to do next.

An enemy in this world, perhaps particularly to my generation, is apathy and it’s so refreshing to work in a place where everybody cares and they’re so passionate about the work they do.


After 14 years of full-time education, I wanted to have a break, take ownership of my life and learn in a different way. My gap year at TIHR quickly turned into a second, which flew by equally quickly. I never thought I would do an apprenticeship and I still feel that in less traditional apprenticeship sectors the experience, growth and development of apprentices isn’t accurately reflected in the label or the qualifications.  I was often embarrassed to tell people I was doing an apprenticeship because I felt they would hold assumptions about what apprenticeships are which would downplay the experience and opportunities that I have had at TIHR.

Half way through my time here we recruited a second apprentice, Nick. I felt very apprehensive about him joining. It felt like being an only child and finding out you were getting a sibling, although this says more about me than anything else. The arrival of this ‘unwanted sibling’ turned out to be the start of a great friendship and learning experience as I now had to contend with someone being a colleague and a close friend. I also learnt a lot from colleagues with whom I had more tricky or loaded interactions. This is the beauty of TIHR it is not always easy to work here but it is never boring.

Throughout my time at here I have surprised myself a lot and found it invigorating to be in an environment where people take you seriously regardless of age and both care deeply but also want to push you.

I am off to university now, having grown into myself over the last two years at TIHR.

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