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"Getting a funded degree and work experience is a great start to a career"

Erin McGuire

Erin works as an Operations Degree Apprentice at Nestlé while studying for a BA Professional Practice in Management at Sheffield Hallam University. After leaving sixth form, Erin wanted to go straight into full-time work, but didn't want to miss out on degree education – so a degree apprenticeship was the perfect solution.

"I have a really good mentor who has helped me develop myself."

"I wanted to get some work experience and earn a full-time wage, but nowadays a degree is important for career progression. When I came across degree apprenticeships, I knew it would allow me to do both of these things at the same time. Also, considering the cost of university and the struggle to get jobs, I think getting a funded degree and work experience in a large company is a great start to a career.

During my working week I take about a day to focus on my university work – and on average I spend 6 weeks at work in Norfolk and then a whole week at university. I travel to Sheffield Hallam on a Sunday evening and then return on the Friday afternoon. I enjoy the modules and in terms of support there are many services that the university offer, including being able to speak to a tutor via email when you are away from university. In terms of support at work I have a really good mentor who has helped me develop myself – we frequently meet and analyse my strengths, weaknesses and development areas to focus on."

"One of my biggest achievements so far is my education and training work group project. This involved me building a training package for engineers on site to learn how to repair, replace and maintain machine components, including an initial analysis of skill level and learning style. I then designed and plan to build a training rig which allows the engineers to repair and maintain the components during the training session, using different real-life scenarios. I am now in the process of training the engineers on my training package and will hopefully be validating them next year. This has given me a wide range of knowledge of one of the main pieces of equipment on site and has also allowed me to build rapport with many different people.

When I finish my apprenticeship, I will be 21, and I think there are way too many things out there to know exactly what I would like to do next. I have found a real passion for engineering though during my work experience so far, and I know I definitely would like to work with people and spend time developing them. I couldn’t do a desk job!"

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