Apprenticeship DegreesCharlie Muir

Taking an interest in tech to new heights

Charlie Muir was always interested in the tech subjects at school and it was her Computing teacher that flagged the opportunity to attend a Morgan Stanley information event for their Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) programme. This sparked Charlie’s interest in perhaps not continuing with her plans to go straight to University from school but to look at a work based degree option. Following that session, Charlie’s preference was to take the option to gain hands-on work experience whilst also studying. She commenced her BSc(Hons) IT Software Development GA with Morgan Stanley and Strathclyde in September 2019.

For Charlie, the ability to apply what she is learning into her day job is the key benefit of the GA programme.

It’s great that what you learn at University you really apply in a scenario at work. By using my learning in a practical setting it really helps to improve my learning, understanding and recall

Employer support every step of the way

Charlie also credits Morgan Stanley as extremely supportive employers and says it’s the sense of community and the opportunities made available that really helps her make the most of her GA. Apprentices are actively encouraged to broaden their professional networks, join committees and seek out opportunities to work in areas of interest to them.  Apprentices at Morgan Stanley are actively supported from senior management, dedicated pastoral care and an Apprentice Mentor for all of those who are learning on the job.

For Charlie, this helps her to make the most of her work based studies and was one of the main reasons she opted for the Morgan Stanley programme.

From the very start, it was so clear to us as that Morgan Stanley wanted us to do well and be successful and that they were going to be there to guide us through the start of our careers

A different approach to learning

Charlie freely admits that, with hindsight, she actually thinks she may have struggled with the pace and absorbing so much information and theory on a traditional full time degree. The online nature of the GA means that she can study at her own pace, redo activities, pause and watch video lectures again should she need to. It is that flexibility which allows the programme to be tailored to her own personal needs that she is really grateful for.

Even during the challenges of COVID when face to face teaching has been replaced with virtual sessions, the support from the academic team is still very evident and they are accessible for all questions and queries.

Charlie also enjoys that sometimes the learning is in the workplace first, before it is introduced in her University studies and that dual-learning is really helpful.

I might learn something at work first before we cover it at University and that means that I can familiarise myself using what I have done in practice which is really useful for me

Finding a balance

Charlie manages to balance her work and studies by focussing on University work for an hour or so at the end of each working day. Apprentices are also allocated one study day per week from their employer which ensures that her studies are not infringing on her personal time.

Charlie can also see the benefits that the work based elements and activities within the programme bring to her both personally and professionally, a lot of what she is doing in her day job is being counted towards her academic credits. At Strathclyde, work based learning is integrated into each Graduate Apprenticeship programme and directly contributes credits towards the award.

Practical in the workplace

At Strathclyde, we employ dedicated Work Based Learning Advisors (WBLA) who are a key part of our Faculty teaching teams. These individuals bring a wealth of industry experience as well as a background in work based assessments.

Charlie and all Strathclyde Graduate Apprentices are supported throughout their studies by a WBLA whom they meet with on a regular basis to monitor their progress on the programme and support the development of their e-portfolio of evidence should they wish to apply for Professional Accreditation upon completion of their degree studies.

Fraser Macdonald is Charlie’s WBLA and highlights that a key aspect of the apprenticeship degree is the work based learning component.

Work based learning is perhaps one of the clearest demonstrations of Strathclyde’s commitment to being “a place of useful learning”.

By blending academic learning with on-the-job experience, supported by a clear framework for development, the Apprentice – our learner -  is well-equipped to succeed in their career and achieve real success in their workplace.
Fraser Macdonald, Work Based Learning Advisor

Working in their organisation of choice, our learners are able to directly apply the fundamental academic learning being undertaken, while simultaneously experiencing first-hand the reality of organisational life.

Using the Skills Framework for the Information Age as the competency framework, our WBLAs tailor work-based learning competency assessment for each individual apprentice, no matter what their role or how their situation evolves. This allows them the opportunity to make a positive impact in the workplace and to progress their career.

With the support of both her employer and Strathclyde, Charlie is flourishing in both work and study and looking forward to where her GA takes her career at Morgan Stanley in the future.

Designed in partnership with industry

The strong tripartite relationship between an employer, the learner and the University is the key to the success of work based Graduate Apprenticeship degrees and Strathclyde are committed to delivering a high quality experience for all employer partners as well as learners.

Through engagement events and discussions, employers have shaped the Apprenticeship degrees we deliver at Strathclyde. This has resulted in programmes which do not only bring value and opportunity to the learner, but also to our employer partners.

Developing essential skills for the future

Graduate Apprenticeships are an opportunity for organisations to not only broaden the talent pool by recruiting new staff into their business but also to develop existing employees.  Employers can nominate individuals who are in a suitable job role which will enable them to complete the work based learning elements of the programme.

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Graduate Apprenticeships are funded by Skills Development Scotland

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