Apprenticeships 4 min read

How to prepare for the transition between school and a degree apprenticeship

Katie Fiddaman

Katie Fiddaman posted on

If you secure a degree apprenticeship, fantastic! They are a really competitive scheme and a brilliant opportunity to gain rich work experience, earn an annual salary and get a high-level qualification.

However, transitioning from further to higher education is not easy, especially when balancing a full time job role with a full time degree and a desire for some kind of social life! Therefore, I have put together this blog in order to give you some key skills to aid your transition.

1. Time Management

"Life as a Degree Apprentice is very busy! Balancing a 4 day working week with studying for a degree can be stressful. However, if you manage your time well, it makes things much easier. Planning your week in advance is useful, decide when and where you’ll study, and also when you’ll have a break!" - Phoebe Walker, Degree Apprentice

So... How do you do this?

At the start of each week, noting down what needs to be done and the time it will take is a great way to manage time. There are a few things that need to be factored into this:

A work-life balance is crucial to success in a degree apprenticeship because a sole focus on just work and study will impact your social life negatively, potentially causing a whole host of other issues. Therefore, ensuring that you factor in time to do what you like and see friends/ spend time with family is really important.
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Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

2. Organisation and Prioritisation

Learning to prioritise and being organised is something you will have done at A-Level, but it’s nothing compared to what is required at Degree Apprenticeship level. Find a way to organise yourself, and stick to it! The most simple way is a to do list, a method I am sure you have used before. Write down what you have to do and work your way through it, ticking things off as you go. This can be done online or on a piece of paper. Others prefer a more visual method such as mind mapping/ spider diagrams to record what is required.

"Organisation is key when completing a Degree Apprenticeship as you need to juggle both full time work and study at the same time. My top tip to stay organised is to simply write a list! Daily 'to-do' lists for both work and study mean you are able to easily plan your day to make sure you stay organised and on top of all your work!" - Matilda Pinn, Degree Apprentice

Prioritising is also key! Before making the to-do list, it might be a good idea to see what needs to be done first and what can be done later. A fantastic way to determine this is with an Eisenhower Matrix, where you weigh up your tasks on urgency and importance...
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Image courtesy of DevelopingGoodHabits.com.

This should help you order your to-do list in a way that is most effective to getting things done and can be done at work or for university!

3. Networking

Network, network, network is something that you will hear constantly throughout your working life. So why not get a head-start? If you don't have one already, create a Linkedin account. It is a fantastic way to start to build a professional network online and make meaningful connections. It's also a great way to show people what you've done and share things significant to you, much like any other social media platform! Check out our LinkedIn blog to find out more.
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4. Learn to be 'professional'

A skill that is not always taught at A-Level is professionalism. This can be anything from how to dress to how to construct a professional email. These are things that can be learnt in the time between finishing A-Levels and embarking on your degree apprenticeship...

  1. Look online for how to construct professional emails.
  2. Look at you company's dress code and do some shopping!
  3. Ask your parents questions about the workplace.
  4. Practice taking minutes for a meeting

"Being prepared for the workplace and University is vital to succeeding from the get-go. If you are already aware of what's to come and how you are expected to work and act then you will fit into any team. Being professional at all times and organised within the workplace will leave good impressions on your new employer." - Niamh Mulhall, Degree Apprentice

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5. Ask questions

Finally, do not be afraid to ask questions. No question is a stupid question and by asking about things you’re not fully sure on ensures that you fully understand everything that you are being told. Be inquisitive both at work and at university to get the most out of your experience... You earned it, so make the most of it!

And, most importantly, have fun!

For more apprenticeships blogs, head over to the Apprenticeships section. To find out more about Pearson College London's Degree Apprenticeships, head over to the website.

How to prepare for the transition between school and a degree apprenticeship
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