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How UX degree apprenticeships are helping BT Group upskill their business

Sian Cummins

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*

Meet Sian Cummins, the Content Designer Manager at BT Group

Why did BT Group choose to offer degree apprenticeships?

We offer the Digital User Experience (UX) Professional Degree Apprenticeship at BT, and that’s good for us because we work as a squad model with content design, product design, service design and user researchers, and product leaders. The apprentices are learning a little of each of those disciplines, which is great for their careers. This programme is great for BT because we’re building the next generation of designers who could join us later.

Once placed within a squad, the apprentices are mainly getting used to the working environment, the squad model and working with all the different disciplines. It’s a big and complex organisation, even for someone like me who’s been working in design for a while. 

Some apprentices are currently working on a mock project about the Apple Watch. We try to fit that as closely as possible with the learning sprints they’re doing at Manchester Met. 

How has the support you received as a line manager of degree apprentices been?  

Working with Manchester Met as a line manager of apprentices is great. It’s the first time I’ve done it and I’ve been well-supported.

We’ve been given a full induction of what to expect from being an apprentice line manager. We learned how to do a 30, 60, and 90-day template with them to make sure that they’re hitting the right points in their career during that first period. And we will walk through the learning sprints that the apprentices do, so we understand what kind of work we can give them to ensure it matches the learning sprints.

We also had a walk around the SODA building, which is amazing. Even at this point in my career, I thought the facilities were unbelievable. So, for an 18-year-old, that must be great.

Would you recommend degree apprenticeships and Manchester Met to other employers?

I recommend Manchester Met highly. Manchester is a creative city. There’s a huge design community here, and it is an excellent place for the apprentices to learn their craft. It’s a city centre-based campus, so it’s easy to get to our office and a nice place for the apprentices to learn and study. 

The apprentices are amazing; the level of professionalism and creativity they have brought this early in their careers astounds everyone here. We’re so grateful for them.

*RateMyApprenticeship Awards, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022

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