Manchester Met is one of the UK's leading providers of degree apprenticeships with a proven record of success. With a varied range of programmes offered to help businesses upskill their current talent or attract skilled apprentices to grow their business, we are an Ofsted Grade 1 Outstanding provider and the top-rated university for degree apprenticeships.*
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A DEGREE APPRENTICESHIP?
I was first introduced to the idea of an apprenticeship whilst at college, my brother had just started his own auditing apprenticeship, so I got to witness the benefits first-hand. He was able to work remotely and in the office. Most importantly, he was getting his studies funded for him, in addition to being paid and gaining valuable work experience.
This to me sounded ideal and as university was never the route I planned to follow, I decided to try and find an apprenticeship suitable for me. My only concern was whether it would be as socially exciting as going to university. Unfortunately, at the time, my college only advertised business or practical apprenticeships, for example, plumbing or bricklaying, so it took me a while to realise there were creative apprenticeships out there.
HOW DID YOU SECURE YOUR APPRENTICESHIP?
The application process for Christie’s was very extensive. I applied in November 2019 and progressed to the next two stages of taking tests so that the company could assess my skill set and how I handle situations. After that, there was a video interview, followed by another behaviour-based assessment. The final stage was a two-day assessment centre.
I joined Christie’s in a cohort of over 20 apprentices, and due to it being a Level 3 apprenticeship, my contract concluded after 15 months. I was happy to have achieved my Level 3 qualification but wanted to progress to a greater challenge. So, I asked my manager if she thought it would be possible for me to continue within a design role at Christie’s, whilst obtaining a degree.
As this was agreed upon, I began searching for a suitable university degree. After a few weeks of trying, I discovered the Creative Digital Design Professional Degree Apprenticeship based in the School of Digital Arts (SODA) and instantly knew it was the programme for me.
LOOKING BACK OVER YOUR TIME (SO FAR), HOW HAVE YOU FOUND THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE?
The experience so far has really helped build my confidence within the workplace. I feel like I now have a level of expertise where I can offer value to my team, and I am enjoying the new responsibilities.
I would say the most challenging part of being a degree apprentice is time management. It is easy to find yourself getting consumed in a project at work, leaving your assignment to the last minute but with support from my manager and skills coach I am slowly finding that perfect balance of work and university. Being on campus is great as I get to socialise with my classmates, and it provides a change of scenery.
HOW ARE YOU HOPING A DEGREE APPRENTICESHIP WILL SUPPORT YOUR CAREER PROGRESSION?
Since embarking on this programme, I have found myself more frequently thinking as a designer would, asking more questions and looking at the intention behind designs. The exercises we have done in class have challenged me to be more innovative. In addition to this, I have also widened my knowledge of design overall, from history and theories to best practices and design platforms.
I feel optimistic about the position I will be in at the end of my degree. Not only will I be fully qualified for a creative director role, but I will also have completed many years of valuable work experience within a well-known luxury business. At some point in the future, I would love to start my own company and I think this programme will help inspire me creatively.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND A DEGREE APPRENTICESHIP WITH MANCHESTER MET?
The facilities at the university are great, and I find the tutors to be very personable. I have felt supported throughout my journey so far, and any challenges have been addressed quickly and efficiently, which is much appreciated.
The programme is a big commitment, but it is worth it if you can truly apply yourself to it. At the end of the day, I want to get a good grade, not only for myself but also to show Christie’s, that they made the correct decision in funding my degree.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FUTURE DEGREE APPRENTICES?
Sometimes when you are working and studying, it is easy to slip into the habit of only doing the jobs assigned to you, and whilst this is what you should be doing, you may find yourself feeling unchallenged. Be proactive within your role and ask for more responsibility when desired.
You could even think up your own project to present back to the company. This will help you stand out to your team and build your confidence as a designer.
Manchester Metropolitan University offers a number of undergraduate and postgraduate apprenticeships in several areas. Find out more here (mmu.ac.uk/apprenticeships)
*RateMyApprenticeship Awards, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022