The Nationwide Apprenticeship University

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What are the benefits of being an apprentice? – Samsia’s story

As an employer, Coventry University: The Nationwide Apprenticeship University offers Degree Apprenticeships to both new and existing staff. A few weeks ago, we published Ian Morley’s account of starting a Degree Apprenticeship mid-career. Now here is a view from the other end of the spectrum. Samsia Akhter, People Administrator, is one of the first employees to be directly recruited as a Chartered Manager Degree Apprentice. After achieving A Levels, Samsia completed a Level 3 apprenticeship with an engineering company, after which she worked for Coventry City Council for 15 months before applying for the Coventry University CMDA. Her four-year Degree Apprenticeship will result in an Honours Degree as well as Chartered Manager status from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

These are a few of the many questions that overwhelmed me before undertaking my CMDA (Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship) with Coventry University. Heck – I still ponder some of these now, being two months into the course!

“Is this the right decision?”

“Will I be judged as a late bloomer?”

“Is it worth it?”

“Can I complete this?”

“Is it too late?”

Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost – Erol Ozan

I’ve always had a curious mind. My nearest and dearest would class me as one to experiment in different things, such as food, fashion, hobbies, so why not take an alternative approach to learning? The advantages of vocational education were really compelling:

  • Earn while you learn
  • Obtain a degree at the same level as a graduate and more
  • Develop experience in your relevant career path
  • Obtain opportunities to network connections within your desired industry
  • No student debt

So looking at these, my mind was made up without a doubt. As soon as I received my A Level results, I made it my mission to break the barriers and conformities set by my friends and family and set out to complete an Apprenticeship. I managed to secure myself the perfect position within a reputable company [Coventry University], in the first few weeks of the summer.

As I embarked on the journey of my apprenticeship, unfortunately, I lost myself. For a period of time, I was drowning and sacrificed many ties with loved ones in an effort to find my feet and establish myself in this new world. Days passed to months and months passed to years, and I grew further away from those who I once held so dear to me. Maybe an apprenticeship isn’t the right path for me? Maybe I tried to grow up too fast? These are the things I was not warned of and I learned the hard way.

After the epiphany I so needed, I re-analysed the situation, obtained the help I required and finally managed to rekindle relationships that I so selfishly tore down. All of these experiences are helping shape me into the woman I wish to become. Now starting the next chapter in my book of learning and development, I am ready more than ever before to complete it and be crowned with the mortarboard I so genuinely crave.

My story as an apprentice here is not just to focus on the benefits and glitter of being a novice in the wonderful working world, but to show that “some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost”.

An apprenticeship is an awesome and effective approach to learning and I do not ever regret the decision I have made, purely on comparison to what I’ve achieved as opposed to peers in the same life phase as me. But my sincere message to all those considering or completing an apprenticeship is to be yourself; slow and steady wins the race.

Samsia Akhter
Chartered Manager Degree Apprentice

 

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