Why I left university with amazing grades to do an apprenticeship instead

I’m Josh, 20 years old and in my first year doing aSoftware & Web Developmentapprenticeship withQA, workingforPickSoft.AQA apprenticeshipwas not the first path I chose.

I completed my GCSEs with 10 A*s and 1 A, then I went to sixth form and completed A Levels with 2 A*s and 1 A. I was told that university was the path I needed to take, as both of my parents went to university and all my friends were going too, so I decided to do Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London.

I loved the lifestyle and people at university, it was great to have independence, but I didn’t enjoy the learning style. I realised the only part I ended up enjoying wascomputer programmingand that the rest did not interest me, this led me to choose to leave university. My parents supported me in this, believing I needed to enjoy my course for university to be meaningful, however I still felt I had “Failed”.

In the following few months I was down about my “Failure” in leaving university and I began to doubt my decision and whether I wanted to try going back again. This is when my mother, a part time accountant, told me she’d had a discussion with one of her clients, now my manager at PickSoft, and she’d told this client about my situation but how I’d thoroughly enjoyedsoftware development. It turns out that he had been thinking about hiring asoftware development apprenticeand wanted to get in touch with me about it.

I had never heard of apprenticeships in this field and had never considered myself as becoming an apprentice. I went to a meeting with my now manager; we discussed things and he told me he would like to hire me as an apprentice, to which I tentatively agreed to. It was at this point we went to QA and I became a QA apprentice.

Since then I have been working for 4 months, and am loving it!

I thoroughly enjoy hands on tasks, the regular workday schedule, and independence in my work and the enormous amount of personal progress I have achieved. My skill insoftware developmentis continuously developing with help from the QA course and the guidance of my manager. And the best part is I will receive certification in my abilities, giving me foundations for a career.

I realise, now I am an apprentice, that it is a shame that others my age are unaware of this option and are made to believe that you must go to university to be able to progress in a field and enjoy your work. I believe more awareness needs to be spread about the opportunities that are presented to young people by apprenticeships and they need to be made aware that university is not the only option out there.

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