Tell us where you are on your apprenticeship journey.
I am in my third year of my four year apprenticeship.
I completed two 10 week placements in the summer of my first and second years, and am currently 2 months into my 9 month placement.
I studied at university full time during my first and second years, and now as I complete third and fourth year I will complete one semester at university and then one semester at work.
I will return to university in September 2023, and then complete a 4 month placement January - April 2024 before graduating next summer!
What sort of apprenticeship are you doing?
I am doing a graduate apprenticeship, as I knew I wanted to go to University, but also wanted to start my career early and was worried about being able to afford University, especially when moving away from home.
I study Data Science at the University of Edinburgh, studying a mixture of computer science, maths and data related modules. I will have completed 1.5 years of work placement by the time I graduate. Both are separated clearly into blocks, so I go to uni for a period of time, and then go on placement for a period of time and so on.
I love the mix of University based learning and learning on the job, the separation between both is important to me, as it means I can focus on one at a time. When I am at university, I am just like any other student, going to lectures, completing assignments and of course enjoying student life.
Whilst on placement I work within the Technology Data & Analytics team, working with large clients in the banking sector, helping them solve complex problems using their data. At work I write code, cleanse and analyse data, and engage in client meetings.
How did you find out about the apprenticeship and what made you choose it?
I heard about the apprenticeship after completing a week long work experience with PwC in my second last year of school. My careers teacher also posted a poster in our school, and past pupils from my school were apprentices at the time.
The idea of earning an income whilst at university appealed to me, as I knew I wouldn't have to take on part time work like I had at school, and could instead fully focus on working towards my degree.
The program I am on is a fully funded degree program, meaning I earn a salary even whilst at University and will graduate with no student debt. I have been able to live in Edinburgh whilst being financially independent.
What is your favourite thing about your apprenticeship?
I love the mix between being a normal university student and working. Whilst at work I feel empowered to get involved in technical work, by being both trusted in my judgement and appropriately supported whilst trying new things.
The autonomy I am given over my career development is also highly valuable to me. I can ask to get involved in work that interests me, set my own performance goals, and can choose work that aligns with my skills and interests. As a PwC employee I also have access to a wide range of free technical training, and can work towards technical qualifications that the firm will then pay for me to gain.
I get to work on solving real client problems, suggesting ideas, building solutions and presenting my work back to my team and the client! It is really rewarding to be involved in every part of the work, and getting to see the full impact of my efforts.
I'm very lucky in that I have been able to travel for work quite a bit already, travelling to London regularly. Work socials are also really fun, I’ve been able to build authentic relationships with my colleagues both at work and over informal dinners and social evenings.
A highlight from my summer placement was travelling to London to present my work to a client.
The meeting took place in a board room on the 24th floor of a high profile building, overlooking the River Thames.
Where do you hope to end up?
I am looking forward to graduating next summer. I'm on track to achieve above a 2:1, meaning I have a guaranteed job with PwC when I finish. I hope to move to London with the form, and continue to work within the banking and regulation branch of the Technology Data & Analytics team!
Any advice or tips for young people considering an apprenticeship?
Be curious! There are so many different apprenticeship opportunities out there across many different industries, with a range of benefits. It is important to research the options that are available to you, to find one that suits you best.
No two apprenticeships are created equal, if one doesn’t sound like it will help you learn the way that suits you, it doesn’t mean another one won’t.
If you have a question about an opportunity or would like to find out more, don't be afraid to ask! You can reach out to companies via email, ask to schedule a call or even reach out to current apprentices to ask about their experiences.