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BLOG: My Degree Apprenticeship Journey


My name is Jack, and I completed my Nuclear Engineering Degree Apprenticeship with Weston College in July 2022– which was sponsored by the Ministry of Defence.

I applied directly for my role with the Ministry of Defence, who in turn had arranged for their apprenticeship to be delivered through Weston College. After completing my A-Levels I took a few years away from education to pursue a volunteering role overseas, and upon my return to the UK was looking at ways to follow my desires to become an engineer. Exploring my options, including a ‘conventional’ University course, I discovered the world of degree apprenticeships and was excited by the opportunity to learn academic theory and see its direct application in the workplace. The prospect of earning a wage whilst doing so was just an added bonus!

The degree apprenticeship benefited me in ways that my friends who completed conventional degrees never could; to explore the breadth and depth of my chosen discipline both with academics, and with working professionals. Additionally, I was given the opportunity from day 1 of my studies to contribute to and deliver work for my employer that was of real-world significance and consequence, not purely academic exercises. Being able to work whilst studying also enabled me to reaffirm that engineering was a discipline that I wished to pursue professionally.

Being an apprentice brings a plethora of benefits, ranging from the opportunities to gain practical experience, to being prepared for the world of work. Qualifying for student discount and getting paid to learn are rather nice perks too!

Furthermore, working for the Ministry of Defence provided some once in a lifetime opportunities, ranging from seeing Submarines in construction, to going out on Operations with the NATO Submarine Rescue System, and travelling internationally to work with colleagues around the world. The mentoring and support that the MOD provided, and the encouragement to pursue personal development was really helpful and enabled me to undertake additional studies at university, whilst also engaging in STEM outreach work with the Nuclear Institute.

As this was a new course, and I was part of the first cohort to be sponsored through Weston College by the MOD, there was a steep learning curve. Both for us, and the staff through the five years of the scheme. In addition to the cultural changes to learn, trying to learn Nuclear engineering wasn’t without its difficulties. However, despite challenges and setbacks we, my friends and I, were able to complete the scheme and we all graduated and have been able to take up full time employment.

Since completing the degree apprenticeship, I've taken up a role with Rolls-Royce Submarines, where I work as a mechanical engineer. This is an exciting role which I'm deeply enjoying, and one that my apprenticeship helped prepare me for.

Completing a degree apprenticeship is a really rewarding (and challenging!) way of furthering your own education and competencies. There are more and more opportunities for degree apprenticeships becoming available every year, and so it’s certainly worth considering! Take time to research your potential employer, and the apprenticeship standard, to make sure it aligns with what you want to do. If you find a good fit, then there is no better way of getting into the world of work whilst continuing your education.

Apprenticeships have the power to unlock doors, provide opportunities and prepare you for the workplace in ways that universities don’t. If there is an opportunity to pursue your aspirations through an apprenticeship, then I cannot stress enough how seriously you should consider going down the apprenticeship route.


If you would like to follow in Jack's footsteps and complete a degree apprenticeship, you can check out our courses, by clicking here. 

If you're an employer and would like to employ someone like Jack, you can do so through our 300 in 50 campaign. Find out more, by clicking here. 

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