How You Can Put Theories into Practice as a Degree Apprentice
Posted: 11th of March 2019 by Lewis Scott
A degree apprenticeship combines university study with practical skills gained in the workplace and the security of a regular salary. This allows apprentices to work and learn simultaneously, encouraging the application of theories to the workplace and the application of industry knowledge to the degree.
“Working alongside studying can be stressful, especially when deadlines are looming! That being said, they are undoubtedly beneficial to each other. At school, I often found that what I was learning wasn’t relevant to the real world. However, I can now relate the business theories that I am studying directly to scenarios at work; and likewise, I can use my work experience to challenge and criticise academic theories.” - Holly Garrett, Rotational Degree Apprentice
So, in what scenarios can you put these theories into practice?
The degree is deliberately structured to help you learn and further develop in a professional and academic environment. This means that everything, down to the styles of assessments are based on the real world of work.
Firstly, coursework assignments are report-style pieces of work. This is something you require for the workplace as report writing is a different style of writing that you won’t have done outside of work before. Therefore, the skills acquired from this are directly applicable to any reporting you have to do at work.
Secondly, at Pearson College London specifically, all students at Level 4 (first year of the degree) are required to set up their own charity/business in a group and deliver a presentation of the business plan. Even though lots of degree apprenticeships are with large corporations, the knowledge from work can be applied to the start-up in the classroom.
Your Job Role
You can also apply theories directly to your job role. For example, you might learn something in a Marketing unit that you could directly apply to a market research piece you are doing at work or a new social media marketing strategy that you are devising.
On the other hand, there might be theories that you are learning that you can’t apply to your job role directly. However, you are still learning and you will most likely apply them at some point during your career. If you cannot apply them directly to your role, think about how they could be applied to the business as a whole.
Use your role to challenge academic theories as well. The world of modern business is rapidly changing and therefore theories might come up in the classroom that you disagree with due to personal work experiences. Challenging these theories is only going to further your knowledge and understanding, so don’t be afraid to do so!
“I believe that degree apprenticeships develop a practical way of thinking within an academic structure. Theories that I learn in the classroom can quickly be applied to my role at work, leading to a more in-depth understanding of key concepts whilst improving my performance in both areas respectively.” - Jordan Kemp, Pearson Degree Apprentice
Sometimes team meetings will give you the opportunity to deliver a presentation about something you might be working on or a certain impact or achievement you’ve had. The other main assessment method at university is presentations. Therefore, the skills that you gain from presenting work projects in an assessed environment can be translated into a professional work space to increase success in this area.
Advice and Recommendations
The theories and practices that you learn can also be used to give advice and make informed recommendations. It can be intimidating as an apprentice to suggest solutions to business problems, especially when they are directed at a more senior member of staff. However, the purpose of hiring an apprentice is to fill skills gaps in the workforce and increase the level of talent.
Therefore, managers will generally be open to suggestions that you may have based upon new theories that you are learning at university; or, that you have purely because you are a pair of ‘fresh eyes’ looking at the business (provided you are a new employee too).
Within a Business Management Degree one of the first topics you learn is business culture. Something you probably don’t think about at work all of the time is: “what is the workplace culture here?” because you’re thinking about work!
However, business culture theories learned in the classroom spark conversations and thought processes about work culture, the different types of culture and how different companies operate in different business cultures. This can aid recommendations for cultural changes or alterations for senior management teams within the organisation that you work.
There are so many ways that academic theories can be applied to workplace practices as a degree apprentice, so try them out!
To find out more about Pearson College London’s Degree Apprenticeship schemes, visit their website.
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