I am sure many people decide not to undertake further studies or an apprenticeship because there is not enough information out there when considering their post-school options. I left school in September 2000 aged 16, with no career path and no direction! 19 years later almost to the day I started at Edinburgh Napier University as a Graduate Apprentice studying a full time BSc (Hons) degree in Information Technology Management for Business, while continuing to work full time at Remarkable as the Operations Manager, and of course juggling that all important home life.
When I attended my first induction and lectures, every person I spoke to felt the same as me, asking themselves 'am I too young or too old', 'am I good enough to do this', 'will I stand out’, ‘how will I be able to cope’?
I have never been to university, so I love being out of the office on campus, in a dedicated place for learning. All the lecturers I have met have been engaging, approachable and really know their stuff. I love that equal emphasis is placed on academic knowledge and business experience. The resources seem second to none; our learning portal, online resources, library and wrap around support are helpful with research and assignments. I have of course made full use of my student discount however I am yet to experience the Students' Union, but it is on my list!
What I love is that I have context to my study in the form of understanding Remarkable’s needs, knowing that ideas and new ways of working learned during my studies can be implemented as soon as I get back to the office. I also like that my study makes me question everything about how we run as an organisation and to not just accept the normal status quo, and what has made my experience even better is the fantastic mix of other people from other businesses I am also learning with.
Remarkable have been amazing, my mentor who is also my line manager has been extremely helpful in supporting my development. I am very lucky that Remarkable fully support apprenticeships. We have linked the course content to my personal development objectives and the needs of the business. However, to those looking to enter the world of Graduate Apprenticeships who have already been in the place of work for a period of time, ensure you can be clear about how you, your organisation, your team and your customers will benefit from an improvement in your knowledge, skills and behaviour.
I'll be nearly 40 when I graduate and that's a bit terrifying, but I think it's better for me in that I don't feel like it's been a rushed choice. You’ve got to demonstrate your understanding and your employer needs to get something back from it too as they're investing in you. Everyone's got personal circumstances, maybe a mortgage, a car, general life and I do feel very fortunate to be doing a degree apprenticeship. It's paid for, and it's an amazing opportunity!
Ultimately, I really enjoy doing the apprenticeship and degree, and that I made this choice a little later in life, I'm so glad I did. I made the right choice because I know it's what I really want to do. It’s a brilliant opportunity and I'm overwhelmed by the level of support; in work, in uni and at home.
Aspirationally I would of course like to further progress in my professional career, however completing this honours degree is my focus for now, but I hope it further helps grow my opportunities and my career.
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