Megan Jones, degree apprentice
by Megan Jones
In May 2014, I had completed my final year in Sixth Form and I still hadn’t decided whether I wanted to commit myself to a university course for the next 4 years. My teachers had always pushed me down the more ‘academic’ route of attending university. I’d been to university open days and I was slowly convincing myself to apply for university – everyone else in my year group was, so it seemed like a good idea.
However, I’d also been considering various apprenticeship opportunities within my local area. I was trying not to let the price of the student loan put me off going to university, but in some ways – earning whle I was learning seemed like a no-brainer and a great opportunity to progress my career at such a young age.
I always remember applying for part-time jobs while I was studying, and all they were looking for in candidates was experience. This was one thing that I lacked, so I jumped at the chance of gaining experience in a full-time job, while studying for a qualification at the same time. I had undertaken a level 2 apprenticeship previously, but had been determined enough to apply for more challenging apprenticeships and I am now studying a Digital & Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship at Manchester Metropolitan University – working in a full-time position at Barclays Technology Centre in Knutsford. I never thought that I’d have the chance to go to university, especially after I’d decided to go down the apprenticeship route.
As I’ve always had a keen interest in technology along and I felt that applying for this type of apprenticeship would pull on my strengths. I will always remember being frustrated at the dial-up connection that we had at home when I was younger (especially when my mum was on the phone for, what felt like, hours) and it’s amazing to see, and now study, the technological advances that have impacted our everyday lives. It fascinates me.
I am so glad that I chose to enter into the world of work at such a young age and I feel that these past 3 months at Barclays have taught me so much, and I am so grateful for this opportunity. I also feel that by coming into full-time employment at such a young age has increased my confidence and work-related skills, which I may have lacked otherwise.
Apprenticeships have risen in popularity, and have come ‘back into fashion’. My grandad always mentions when he was on his apprenticeship at Crewe Works and it has always spurred me on. It shows that university isn’t your only option, and there are lots of other routes that you can take when you leave school/college. Most members of my family work; and they have either been to university after school or have gone straight into employment. An apprenticeship gives the best of both worlds – having a full-time job and studying alongside. This suits me perfectly and I would recommend to anyone willing to take on a challenge.
I am only just at the beginning of my journey on the 2-year apprenticeship programme at Barclays, as well as a 4 year degree programme at MMU and I am excited about my future.