"I feel so lucky getting to start a career and do a degree. Why wouldn’t you?"
As a Professional Services Degree Apprentice studying for a BA Professional Practice in Management, Alice is in the unusual position of both studying and working at Sheffield Hallam University. Here is Alice's advice on how to get an apprenticeship and what her experience has been like.
"I found my apprenticeship by going to Hallam's degree apprenticeship jobs fair."
"A degree apprenticeship is a way of applying what you learn in your degree, so when you’re in the workplace you’re able to apply that to your job. It’s such a good opportunity – I’m getting 4 years' worth of valuable experience and I don’t have to pay for it. I feel so lucky getting to start a career and do a degree. Why wouldn’t you?
I found my apprenticeship by going to Hallam's degree apprenticeship jobs fair, which had lots of different employers. This was really useful as it helped to find out about the different roles and how they might work as a degree apprenticeship. I’d say coming to one of these events is the best way of doing it, because you can speak to someone about how it affects you specifically."
Develop your career in cardiovascular, respiratory and sleep sciences by studying for a degree while working in a relevant role towards professional accreditation.
How you apply is different with each employer
I was already working at Hallam, so I just sent a CV to the recruiting manager. However it works for you, once you have the job, you’d then apply for university the same way as everyone else, and your employer will fill in parts of the application too.
- If you’re already employed, research what degree apprenticeships are, then take it to your line manager. Once that’s done contact the university and they can advise you where to go from there. Rather than just applying, have a conversation with your employer and the university.
- If you’re not employed yet, contact Hallam as they have a matchmaking service where you can say what you’re interested in, and if they know of any employers who could help you, they’ll put you in touch.
How to convince an employer to fund your apprenticeship
First of all, it’s helpful for the business to find out if they’re a 'levy' company – if so they’ll already have money set aside specifically for apprentices, so not only do they not have to pay the fees, they get a more qualified member of staff at the end of it. Plus, it’s the only way they can spend the levy money, so they might as well.
Or if they’re not a levy company, the government will help them to pay the fees. Either way, the employer won’t have to pay the full amount. Speak to the employer about what funding is available, or they can contact the university to find out.
When I go to university I do one module at a time
So it’s just one assignment to focus on, which makes it easy to balance. As well as that you should get a study day to get a good start on it. Your employer will want you to do well, and they have to give you 20% of your time off the job to study. Some of that could be made up of block study in university, but the rest would be study days. Typically, you should get one study day per module.
I can apply what I've learned on my course directly to my job
As well as that, my assignments fit to the business – when I'm writing things up it matches my work, so I can understand why I had to learn about that subject. In a previous course I couldn't understand why I would need to learn about some subjects, but on an apprenticeship everything is relevant in the workplace.
It's not like your average job either – I feel like I've made a change already. You're trusted to make a start on projects, and coming in as an apprentice, you're responsible for your own work. I worked in retail before and felt like I had no opportunities. Now, I'm involved in so many different things and I have the opportunity to progress as well, which I never had before.
There are so many different people and all of different ages
The first group I was in was really nice – and even though I felt like they were more experienced within their jobs, I felt more academically experienced as I'd just left A levels, so we could all learn from each other. There were different industries too on the same course – like plastics, environmental, construction and manufacturing – so it was really interesting.