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Claire Dennis - Level 6 Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

"I was working in a finance and administration position in the IT division but wanted to progress my career towards a more technical role. It was the first year the IT division had participated in the apprenticeship scheme, and my manager nominated me as a candidate so that I could learn the skills I would need in an academic setting."

How do you believe this apprenticeship will affect both your current job role and future career?

"I moved to a new role in the company last year and I believe the technical skills I’ve learned on my course helped me to stand out as a strong candidate for the position."

I think it’s a great opportunity to get on-the-job work experience and a qualification at the same time and I’d recommend it as an option for future students to consider.

How would you rate the teaching and support staff on this apprenticeship?

"The lecturers and tutors for our course have been very supportive and understanding of our specific needs as apprentices – there is much more focus on balancing our workload and teaching staff have taken our feedback on board."

How have you balanced studying alongside your professional role? How have you found the support from your employer?

"The amount of coursework has been difficult to manage at times and it requires a lot of personal motivation and discipline to stay on top of assignments. Apprentices are entitled to 20% of their work hours as study leave and this helped with managing my workload, and I’ve had amazing support from my manager and my employer at every step. There is also support and feedback available from tutors for specific assignments."

What is your favourite thing about your apprenticeship?

"I loved the artificial intelligence module that we took in the third year. There was a lot of freedom with the assignment to complete a project we had an interest in and we could be creative. And of course, being able to graduate without any tuition fees!"

What skills and experience have you gained as part of this apprenticeship? Has there been anything that you were not expecting?

"I think this apprenticeship has given me the technical Data Science and programming skills I was hoping to gain, but also a lot of soft skills. I have been a course representative for two years and I’ve also had plenty of practice at giving presentations, which helps me give better presentations at work!"

What advice would you give to individuals considering a higher/degree apprenticeship?

"I’d recommend they consider what they want to get out of the course they’re taking. For me, the priority was being able to study while also working, and not having to worry about student loans. On the other hand, it was harder to be involved in clubs and societies, and we were on campus much less than full-time students. Overall, I think it’s a great opportunity to get on-the-job work experience and a qualification at the same time and I’d recommend it as an option for future students to consider."

If you could describe your apprenticeship in 5 words, what would they be?

"Challenging, intense, motivational, thought-provoking, worthwhile."

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