Katie Fiddaman is a Chartered Manager Degree Apprentice at Pearson College LondonWhat made you consider an apprenticeship?Throughout my GCSE’s and A-Levels, I always worked part-time alongside my studies. Therefore, a degree apprenticeship seemed like the natural progression for my Higher Education as I thrive under pressure and enjoy keeping busy. For some people, the traditional university experience is perfect; but I knew I wanted to work, so it wouldn’t suit me.What are the common misconceptions of apprenticeships?I think the main misconception is that apprenticeships are only for practical subjects, giving them less value than a traditional degree programme. In actual fact, it’s the opposite! You are gaining work experience, whilst obtaining a qualification AND you get paid. Another misconception is that apprentices are there to do the ‘less important’ jobs such as making tea and coffee… I have never once been asked by a member of staff to do this!What are the key bits of advice you would give to someone who is considering doing an apprenticeship?
Research: in order to be successful in getting an apprenticeship, you need to know the company that you want to work for. Just researching at a top level will not suffice. You need to research facts that other candidates won’t know to express a true interest for the company.
Time management: balancing a qualification with a full-time job role can be challenging. Therefore, ensuring that your time management is efficient will aid success in an apprenticeship. Plan your time so that you have enough time to fit in your studies.
Network: as the saying goes…”It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” You need to build a network of people that could be useful to you in the future and vice versa to build a mutually beneficial network.
What would you change about social perspectives on apprenticeships?I would change the view that apprenticeships are of less value than the traditional pathway, the stereotype that apprentices make tea and coffee; and finally the assumption that apprenticeships are for individuals with lower intelligence levels and for practical subjects only.A lot of parents traditionally encourage their children down the university route and neglect apprenticeships. What would you say to them?I would say that initially my dad was not supportive of me doing an apprenticeship due to the negative connotations associated with the word ‘apprenticeship’. I would advise that parents take the time to thoroughly research higher-level apprenticeships before making judgements about them. Parents also generally like the idea that a company funds the degree apprenticeship, so no fees for them!Finally, how would you sum up your apprenticeship experience in a few sentences?I would say that my apprenticeship has been an eye-opening experience. I have met like-minded apprentices and inspiring individuals that have mentored me to success. I have been given opportunities that I would never have even had a chance to get if I didn’t do this apprenticeship. Building my network and meeting new people has definitely been the best part!