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Why I chose to study for a degree apprenticeship

Megan Murray


To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Megan Murray explains her reasons for choosing to work and study as one of the first degree apprentices.

Hi! I’m Megan, from the Midlands, 20 years old and a degree apprentice from IBM and attending Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

De​gree apprenticeships are becoming a more and more popular and appealing choice both to employers and to young people starting their career, and, to help decide if it’s for you and let you know what it’s all about, I’m here to share my experience.

The basics of a degree apprenticeship

We study for a BSc in Digital and Technology Solutions (basically Computer Science and Business) at QMUL two days a week, then work in a role at IBM the other three days… until it’s the university holidays when we go to full time IBM. My role is in sales and marketing includes providing sales and operational support to a team, promoting a social selling strategy and working with business partners to create profiles and references… though my exact responsibilities flex and change according to need and also according to career direction. I’m based in Nottingham, but make regular visits to the London office and am also able to work from home. University is, of course, in London so I commute to university on those days.

I think most people would agree it’s a pretty amazing deal to be starting your career and be going to uni at the same time, plus there’s the added benefit of being sponsored, which means no debt at the end of it. But how do you get there? For me, I originally applied for an IBM internship, hoping it would help me decide if I wanted to go to university, and if so, what to study. Then, during the process, it was suggested I move to the apprenticeship instead to gain a Level 4 Diploma, and then, when I was going through the final stages of recruitment I was asked if I would like to be considered for a new scheme being developed with QMUL to become a degree apprentice. That was too good an opportunity to turn down – the experience I wanted, with a degree designed around transferable skills and knowledge.

Life as a degree apprentice

At present I spend Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at work, then Tuesdays and Fridays at uni. My working days are a mixture of admin, emails, phone calls and meetings with the team, my manager or business partners, maybe a bit of IBM education, or maybe a whole day of training, and getting on with my job tasks. On Tuesdays and Fridays

I commute down to London for lectures and tutorials. The modules cover a range, from computer programming in java to economics for business. We do mid-term tests, coursework, and summer exams like everyone else (and are as nervous about the exams as everyone else too)!

The scheme is a great way to get a degree without having to wait to start your career, and also enables you to see how everything you’re learning fits in to a real life business. I won’t lie, degree apprenticeships are tough and demanding, and you definitely have to be committed and dedicated, but the pay off, the advantage, the years of experience, the lack of debt and still having that degree… so worth it!

Universities UK has just published a report – The future growth of degree apprenticeships which reviews the development of degree apprenticeships to date, and examines what needs to happen to ensure their future growth and success.

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Total Technology Online
Total Technology Online says:
1 December 2016 at 13:43

This is great! I did a computer science degree here and now I own a computer repair business in Crewkerne.