Apprentice degree students have spoken about the many benefits of working full time alongside academic studies as Middlesex University celebrates National Apprenticeship Week.
This year the theme for National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) – which runs from today until Friday - is Look Beyond.
The aim of NAW is to “celebrate the diversity and value that apprenticeships bring to employers, apprentices and communities across England’.
Hundreds of students are enrolled on a diverse range of Masters, Degree and Postgraduate Certificate in Learning (PGCert) apprenticeship courses offered by Middlesex
In the current academic year, there are 371 students learning on apprenticeship courses at Middlesex across many sectors and professions including teaching, social work, nursing, risk and safety management, environment health and sales.
"Higher and degree apprenticeships have a vital role to play in opening up higher education to more students and to a more diverse pool of students, including those whose circumstances have not previously allowed them to gain the benefits. With a long history in delivering practice based learning, Middlesex is proud to be delivering higher and degree apprenticeships which are such a powerful tool to support life-long learning, boost social mobility and create the highly skilled workforce required to drive a modern thriving economy," Middlesex University Chief Financial Officer, James Kennedy.
Lucia Lobont, 32, is one of the many students benefiting from the popular apprenticeship courses at Middlesex.
Lucia, originally from Slovakia, has started on the BSc Adult Nursing (Apprenticeship) at Middlesex University to become a fully registered nurse, while working as a nurse on a placement at Newham University Hospital in Plaistow, East London.
After working as a healthcare assistant for several years, she first undertook a nursing associates course at South Bank University.
Now she is aiming to become a fully registered nurse and is relishing the chance to gain first-hand work experience alongside her studies.
Speaking about the benefits, Lucia said: “I don’t need to pay for a tuition fee and on top of that I get paid for my work.
‘I love the idea of to work and study.
‘You go to different placements, you meet different people.
‘When you go to work you’ll be already familiar with the place.
“It helps me to manage my time better.
“I am very thankful for the opportunity.”
Thomas Hood, (pictured above) from Cambridgeshire, is another student and full time employee gaining valuable practical skills and learning through an apprenticeship course at Middlesex.
The 19-year-old is studying for a Professional Practice in Business to Business Sales Degree while working full time in sales for BAE systems in London.
He said: “The best part of studying at Middlesex is the integration of knowledge from the university with your job.
“Also, the tutors are very friendly and helpful to make sure that assignments are completed to the best of your ability.
“I decided to do a degree apprenticeship for a variety of reasons, the first being that there are no university fees and you are being paid a full salary.
“I didn’t want to spend another three years of my life sitting in a classroom but instead do a practical job where I could learn and start to build my personal portfolio.
“I heard from many different sources that it was incredibly competitive to get a job straight after university, however, with an apprenticeship I have already got the experience which businesses want and hopefully can carry on working for the business which I am currently with.
“At the moment I am still increasing my insight into the many different roles which are out there.
"The one that has stood out the most is Head of Operations as they control all of the budgets and resources within a certain area of the business.”
James Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer of Middlesex University, said: “Higher and degree apprenticeships have a vital role to play in opening up higher education to more students and to a more diverse pool of students, including those whose circumstances have not previously allowed them to gain the benefits.
“With a long history in delivering practice based learning, Middlesex is proud to be delivering higher and degree apprenticeships which are such a powerful tool to support life-long learning, boost social mobility and create the highly skilled workforce required to drive a modern thriving economy.
“They combines practical experience with academic rigour, which prepares students for the modern workplace and enable learners to earn while they learn.”