Apprenticeship Degrees Fatima Ceesay Lopez

My name is Fatima Ceesay Lopez and I am a 3rd year Graduate Apprentice at a large banking firm in Glasgow. I am in an automation team; which means that my role mostly involves working alongside other teams in the company to automate some of their manual processes. On my team, we work with a lot of different technologies and depending on the user-case we use appropriate tools which allow us to complete the project to the highest standards.

1. Tell us why you chose the IT Software Development Graduate Apprenticeship?
I decided to choose a Graduate Apprenticeship because I have always really liked computing. As a school leaver I decided I wanted to study Computing Science in university. However, when I found out about the IT Software Development Graduate Apprenticeship I thought this would be the perfect fit for me, as I’d be able to learn from real life scenarios whilst still being able to get a University Degree. Something else that really attracted me to do a Graduate Apprenticeship is that in the workplace you are surrounded by experts which can help you grow and develop your skills immensely.

2. What impact, do you feel, has it had on our career progression studying towards your degree apprenticeship whilst working full time?
For me, working whilst studying towards my degree has had a huge positive impact on my development as a software engineer. The apprenticeship has allowed me to become a software engineer from day 1. Once I obtain my degree at the end of my studies I will also have 4 years of experience working as a software engineer, which is extremely valuable in the industry.
In addition to this, being surrounded everyday by software engineers at work has allowed me to network and create great connections in the industry. I have also been able to see the different paths my career could progress to in the future by being exposed to my different colleagues in the workplace.

3. Tell me about the support you receive from your work-based learning advisor and the teaching team?
We meet with our learning advisors twice per term, and in these sessions, we are able to discuss any issues we have been having as well as the progress we have been making. In addition to this, our work-based learning advisor will help us create our portfolios which has all of our workplace learning evidence. This evidence is used on your 4th year dissertation and so keeping the portfolio up to date will really help you for your final year.
The teaching team in the University have always been very supportive, they are always happy to help us with any questions we have. We also have regular feedback sessions with our year head in which we are encouraged to bring up any general issues we are having with any of the modules. And if you are struggling with any specific subjects there is a lot of support for you.

4. How do you juggle working and studying full time and any advice you can give?
Working and studying full time can be challenging at times, specially towards the end of each term as there are a lot of deadlines and a lot of work to complete. However, if you are consistent with your work and do Uni work every week, it’s manageable.
Some advice I would give is that if you are falling behind with any of your uni work because you are struggling to understand the materials or you are struggling with time; I would talk to your lecturer. There’s a lot of support available to us and lecturers are always happy to help try and find a solution that would help you achieve your best possible results.

5. What would you say to companies considering recruiting or putting existing staff through an apprenticeship degree?
I would say 100% go for it. I think as an apprentice we are constantly learning, and it’s amazing how fast we start to become valuable parts of our teams at work. Also, since we are going to university at the same time we are constantly learning about new concepts, which we are then able to take into the workplace. This often allows us to bring new and different points of view into resolving some of the problems we face at work.

For more informaiton on our IT: Software Development Graduate Apprenticeship please click here


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