How did you find out about degree apprenticeships? What were you doing at the time?
I applied for my degree apprenticeship shortly after I had finished my A-levels. I was also working part time in retail. I found out about the degree apprenticeship from a family member who works for the company I’m now working with.
What were the main reasons you decided to do a degree apprenticeship? Did you also consider other ways of studying higher education?
The main reason I decided to apply for a degree apprenticeship was to gain valuable work experience whilst studying for my degree. The financial benefits of staying at home, working and studying, were very appealing to me, rather than moving away for university and taking out a student loan.
I had received offers from different universities to study biology; however I was passionate about pursuing the apprenticeship route, because I wanted to start working in industrial labs immediately rather than waiting three years to finish my degree then applying for a job in this sector.
What are the best things about your degree apprenticeship?
I have learnt so many new lab skills. Techniques that were so alien to me only a year ago are now second nature. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of an excellent team of research scientists, who have taught me with patience and enthusiasm. The team has been very understanding, welcoming and encouraging. I truly feel as though I am a valued member of the team, even though I have not yet finished my degree.
I really love my job and knowing my work is having a positive impact on the lives of others is extremely rewarding to me.
My biggest challenge has been balancing university work with full time work. I did struggle at first to adapt and achieve a good balance, but now that I have improved my time management, I do not find this as challenging. I have learnt from both my colleagues and university staff who are always happy to help.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I hope to progress my career to become a fully competent research scientist. My dream role would be to become part of the management team. I would also like to continue promoting the benefits of apprenticeships.
What do you think would be the best way to get the word out about degree apprenticeships?
I think that degree apprenticeships should be talked about a lot more in schools and colleges. I feel as though from my experience at school and college there was not a huge emphasis on degree apprenticeship opportunities and they should be more actively promoted.
I am very interested in visiting schools and colleges to speak about my experience as an apprentice and the benefits of apprenticeships.
If there was one message that you’d like to share with those considering a degree apprenticeship, what would it be?
Applying for a degree apprenticeship was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I would highly recommend this career pathway.