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Finding the right path: Apprenticeships

Rachel Elliott_apprenticeship

Deciding on your career path can be a daunting task. While the majority of our students leave us to go on to Higher Education, some choose to undertake an apprenticeship instead.

An apprenticeship combines a job with training; it helps you to gain valuable, hands-on, paid work experience and a qualification - all at the same time. It can be an alternative way to begin your career, or, to get a taste of the working world before heading off to university. Our careers team will help you find an apprenticeship that suits your needs.

Our alumna, Rachel Elliott (Class 2021) shared with us her experience.

Why did you decide to pursue an apprenticeship?
I feel that experience is as important as qualifications and I know that I learn better through doing. Many jobs ask for experienced workers and I realised I wasn’t necessarily going to get much work experience if I went to university. I would then be in a large pool of graduates, all applying for the same graduate jobs, unable to stand out. I feel that getting an apprenticeship is a way of getting around this. Even though it is not degree level I still receive a qualification and I hope to use this and my A levels to apply for a fully funded part time degree with the company.

Could you please let us know about the kind of apprenticeship you have joined and the official title?
I am a L3 Nuclear Business apprentice in EDF Energy supporting the build Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. During my apprenticeship I am completing a L3 qualification in Business administration. The apprenticeship is 18 months and, in that time, I will have placements in 6 different departments; 3 months in each. So far, I have completed placements in project management and the Managing Director’s office. As I am an apprentice on a nuclear site my apprenticeship has a nuclear twist. I have completed courses on nuclear energy and site safety, tailored to the company I am working in. I have also started a more general leadership course.

What do you hope to achieve at the end of your apprenticeship?
I hope to be offered a permanent job and also secure time and funding from the company to pursue a degree or equivalent.

What would you say to someone considering an apprenticeship rather than university?
I would say go for it as it is an amazing opportunity to get into a company and start your profession. You can get apprenticeships in pretty much anything these days. Whilst getting experience you a
lso get paid and potentially gain a qualification such as a degree, as well as a pretty much guaranteed job at the end. The experience I have had so far has been invaluable and my confidence has increased so much. I haven’t regretted it for a minute.

Apprenticeships are competitive, so my advice would be to do your research. Know when the applications are due, learn the techniques for performing well in interviews and assessments and learn as much as possible about the company.


Date Posted: 6 June, 2022

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