A Degree Apprentices' Story - Niamh MulhallPosted: 20th of June 2019 by Lewis Scott
At age 16, I was happy with my GCSE results and pleased that I had got into Sixth Form, but I was still unsure about the prospect of university. Throughout school, I knew that having a degree would increase employability so I chose to study Business, Spanish, Maths and Psychology at A-Level as I thought this broad range of subjects would increase my options. However, after a year whilst studying A-Levels, I decided it wasn’t the right path for me as I did not enjoy the teaching style or the exams and the idea of going to university became more blurred.
Soon after, I started an 18-month Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship at the NHS as a Medical Junior Doctor Coordinator across two sites. I really enjoyed being in the workplace and learning on-the-job but I was unsure of my options once it was completed. I was aware of the Level 4 qualification in Business Administration but it wasn’t until my tutor at the NHS told me about Degree Apprenticeships that I did my own research. I started looking online and came across Pearson College London. I loved the idea of gaining a degree whilst working simultaneously and learning new skills, so I applied for the Pearson degree apprenticeship programme.
Applying for a Degree Apprenticeship
After passing the first stage of my application I was invited to a workshop at Pearson College London. I loved the atmosphere as being in central London really appealed to me. The sessions went well and I enjoyed working with like-minded individuals. Whilst I wasn’t sure exactly what the assessors were looking for, I knew that being vocal, challenging others' ideas and proposing solutions was important to stand-out.
It felt very surreal when I got a phone call to say they wanted to interview me as I really wasn’t expecting to get to that stage. Whilst I was nervous, I made sure I knew some background knowledge about Pearson and the College and was prepared for the interview. After half an hour of questions and a small Excel-based test, I left Holborn feeling unsure about the outcome. A few days later I got another unexpected phone call to say I was successful and my job role would be working as a Data and Insight Assistant.
How can a Degree Apprenticeship help you?
Since starting my apprenticeship ten months ago, my confidence has increased and although I had experience in a professional role previously, I have learnt a lot about the education sector and the wider world of work. In the beginning, working in a large team was a shock but now it is clear how each sub-team operates and how our work influences the wider business decisions. I have learnt to produce work of a high standard as I regularly share research with the executive team and proactively seek areas for development within the workplace.
The main skills I have developed within these past ten months are my communication skills: being clear and concise is always effective and the ability to accept and learn from feedback. In my opinion, my work ethic has always been strong and therefore I like being around people with similar mindsets. I am a well-organised person but my time-management abilities have adapted since starting this course; I now juggle work, a degree, personal responsibilities and commuting every day.
In the future, I would like to complete a Master’s degree in a Business or Data-related topic and perhaps gain work experience in a different sector. I know I definitely want to continue in a role involving data analytics as I find it interesting to look at how data can support different teams within a business and influence operations.
If you are interested in any apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship opportunities please visit Not Going To Uni.
My first year as a Degree Apprentice has flown by – I remember the first few weeks so well, from being introduced to the office environment to...