Apprentice Week - Wednesday - How Being A Degree Apprentice Has Supercharged My Personal Development

By James

One thing you often hear thrown around when people discuss degree apprenticeships is that you get "the best of both worlds'', this due to being a full-time employee and a full-time uni student at the same time. I've found in my personal experience this couldn't be more true.

The key factor that makes the degree apprenticeship program so effective for developing technical skills is the overlap in your studies and career. Certain topics such as web development I felt like my understanding was being supported on both sides which led to me performing better in my assessments, as when I wasn't learning through uni exercises I was instead learning hands-on with our system.

Even with the targeted learning built into the degree specification there are some things which can only be learned on-the-job (Another reason it trumps a standard degree anyday in my book!). A few things I've learned at Epix that I don't believe any university could have taught me are:

  • Maintaining and updating bits of legacy code (Often older than myself!).
  • Developing in a huge codebase with many hundreds, if not thousands, of files.
  • Achieving a level of understanding with tools such as php, html, javascript and sql that I would feel confident, given enough time, in producing my own commercial application.

That being said though, there are a few areas that I feel the university's role in my development cannot be understated, one example of this would be, again, their teaching of web development. Before starting my degree I had a basic understanding of writing web pages but only at the surface level. In the web development module I was taught about the importance of semantic tags, responsive design (mobile first) and accessibility.

To conclude, I am very grateful for the development of my skills and understanding the degree apprenticeship has given me thus far. I believe both my employer and The MMU have delivered the highest standard of education I could ask for and I look forward to where my degree will take me in the future.

More information

For more information on the MMU degree apprenticeships, visit https://www.mmu.ac.uk/study/apprenticeships.

For information about national opportunities, visit https://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/.

For a full list of NAW2021 events, download Events-Listing_V3.pdf.

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