Deciding your future path post-school is a big decision.  Most of my friends were choosing to follow the more traditional route to University, whereas it was not such a straightforward decision for me.   I knew I wanted to continue learning but, unlike many of my peers, the thought of spending another 3 or 4 more years in traditional education did not appeal to me.    

This is where my journey to degree apprenticeships began. When looking at alternative options I discovered that degree apprenticeship allowed me to gain both a valuable qualification as well as priceless industry experience. 

Where did my journey start?

Contrary to what many people think, selecting this route is not easy (and in some cases more competitive than applying for universities – if that is possible!):

  • I had to do a lot of my own research  
  • I needed to think about the industry I wanted to be in  
  • I had to look for organisations offering apprenticeships and where they were located  
  • I had to apply to a multitude of places due to the competitiveness, manage different deadlines and complete lots of assessments. 

But not deterred by these challenges I continued and found a great opportunity with Lean Tree and have been amazed to see what apprenticeships can offer.  

5 months in – What have I gained from my Apprenticeship so far?

Career Opportunities– Working within businesses I am able to see all the career possibilities.  I feel that I will be in a greater position to receive higher-skilled jobs as I am gaining experience and gaining a qualification.

Client Facing Experience – I was worried that it would take a long time for me to offer something of value and be able to work for clients, however, this was wrong from the very start.  Any training I received was focused on preparing me for client-facing work, therefore after only a few months, I was starting to work with clients. 

Developing skills – I am developing lots of practical business skills and only 5 months in I am already receiving exposure to industry-specific training.

Learning from Experts – I am exposed to industry experts and can seek advice in a professional environment. 

Support of a Mentor – Lean Tree has provided me with a dedicated mentor from the start of my career, who provides me with a wide range of practical and theoretical knowledge that I can take with me throughout my journey.  I also benefit from having access to the wider community of Lean Tree, as everyone I have spoken to, are approachable and supportive.  

Financial Stability – My apprenticeship also enables me to earn while learning, giving me the ability to start saving money and providing more financial independence at a young age. Also, I will have no debt from loans once my apprenticeship is complete. 

Do I think I made the right decision?  

I know I did! Whilst the degree apprenticeship process was initially challenging and, yes it is a different experience to some of my peers at Uni, my apprenticeship has provided me with the opportunity to learn and develop while gaining valuable industry experience.   

I appreciate that I have been lucky to find Lean Tree, a company that supports me in both my personal and business growth, and a University, in Staffordshire University, that has provided me with a great learning opportunity that will help me to develop.  I look forward to continuing my apprenticeship journey.   

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