The Benefits of Degree Apprenticeships

When I was 14 years old, during Code Clubs after school, I found my passion for software development. I decided to pursue this as a career, and started volunteering at my local makerspace, Create Oldham, entering local hackathons to develop my skills and meet new people. It was at these two places that I met Koderly and decided to apply for a degree apprenticeship. Currently, I’m in my second year working as a Degree Apprentice Software Engineer at Koderly, and I still volunteer at Create Oldham as the Systems Director.

Choosing the right career path

When I completed my A-Levels and was deciding which career path to take, I had two main options; I could attend university and study a degree in Computer Science, or apply for a degree apprenticeship; studying part-time whilst working in a full-time job. After much deliberation and reviewing my options in detail, I chose to apply for a degree apprenticeship at Koderly, where I attend Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) on a day release model. I chose a degree apprenticeship because I liked the idea of gaining on-the-job experience whilst studying for my degree. Degree apprenticeships are a new way to complete a university course. I wanted to work at Koderly because of the shared ethos and values that the company has. I thought this would have a positive impact on my experience as a degree apprentice. Koderly has supported me through off and on the job training which has developed my skills as a software engineer. 

Academic and industry experience

Koderly and MMU work together to ensure that I develop personally, professionally and academically. There are a range of degree apprenticeships offered by MMU and I’m working full-time in a role that is relevant to my degree. I also study units which give me an appreciation of the other roles in the business. For example, as a software engineer, I have also studied units in Business Systems and Technology Management.

A degree apprenticeship is designed from the ground up and is specific to my career. Throughout the course, I complete a wide range of assignments, and a lot of them link back to my role in work. This allows me to critically analyse my work and make a positive impact on the company that I work for.

Skills development

Degree apprenticeships develop more than just academical skills, they also develop my skills in the workplace. As part of the apprenticeship, I complete a minimum of 20% of my working time as ‘off the job training’. While some of this is made up by attending university, there is still a significant amount of time where I define my own training. This is a fantastic opportunity to attend training sessions, complete courses and even work on projects using new technologies. At Koderly, all of our developers receive personal development time, which can be used to attend training sessions or even work on new projects. Apprentices also have the opportunity to attend conferences and external training such as TEDxManchester and SQLBits.

Undergraduate degree, no student debt and a full-time salary

On successful completion of my degree apprenticeship, I will receive an undergraduate degree and will have accumulated four years’ work experience, which means I’m highly employable. I also don’t take on any student debt, and I am paid a full-time salary while working as a degree apprentice. I also have the opportunity to complete a Masters Degree Apprenticeship, after obtaining my undergraduate degree. 

I highly recommend that all young people consider a degree apprenticeship when assessing your academic and career options.

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