Head boy, Sam Tran is celebrating after gaining not only a fantastic set of A Level results but also a highly sought after place on a degree apprenticeship with Prudential in London.
Degree apprenticeships were launched in September 2015 and currently have around 1,000 apprentices. They provide students with an opportunity to gain a full bachelor’s (Level 6) or master’s degree (Level 7) whilst being in a work based environment and can take between three to six years to complete. The benefits of choosing this route are vast and include being employed and paid a wage throughout the course, gaining a full degree, bachelor's or master's without needing to pay student fees and gaining a head start in a chosen profession.
Sam, who joined Brooke Weston in Year 10 from his home of Hannover in Germany, thinks he has found the best of both worlds with his degree apprenticeship. He said ‘I considered many options for after my A Levels but I really fell in love with the idea of a degree apprenticeship largely to do with the financial aspects. As I am from Germany I only qualify for the tuition fee loan and although my parents said they would support me, it was a daunting prospect.
‘With the help of the Brooke Weston careers officer I did a lot of research into degree apprenticeships and realised it was the best option for me, as I would be able to gain a degree without any debt and be paid a salary at the same time. Thinking about the future, more and more employers are looking for their employees to have work experience and I will have four years by the time I have finished.’
Sam gained A*, A and two Bs in his A Levels and will be studying Digital and Technology Solutions one day a week, whilst working the other four at Prudential’s head office in London.
‘There is no guarantee that I will be offered full time employment at the end of the four years, however, 80% of apprentices usually get taken on. At the same time I don’t have to stay, I have the option to leave and work elsewhere so it is very flexible.’
The process to gain a degree apprenticeship is completely different to applying for university. There can be up to nine different steps to secure a place, starting with an online application and finishing with an assessment day involving presentations, group exercises and an interview. With more than 5,000 applications for up to ten jobs the competition is fierce.
‘I applied to four other companies, including JP Morgan and Microsoft and was turned down at various stages before I got accepted for Prudential. It is a gruelling process and I had to miss a few days from school to go to interviews but all of my teachers were extremely supportive in helping me prepare for the interviews and my A Levels, which I was studying for at the same time.
‘It was an extremely busy time and although it was disheartening at times, I never gave up as I knew it was something I really wanted. One of the things Brooke Weston stands for is resilience, you have to believe in yourself and never give up and I never did.
‘I would strongly advise any students starting A Levels this year to look at degree apprenticeships as an option as they offer the best of both worlds and are a chance to get ahead in the world of work. Search on the UCAS apprenticeship page and Rate my Apprenticeship and speak to the school careers advisor. There are some amazing opportunities available that can open up many different avenues to explore.‘