As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we sat down with Degree Apprentice Alumni, Samuel Okusaga, who told us all about his time as a Degree Apprentice here at Pearson College London.
Where did you work as part of your Degree Apprenticeship?
In my first year, I started out as a Student Experience Coordinator for Pearson Business School. At the time our whole team were Degree Apprentices apart from my line manager, so it was a great environment to start out in.
During my third year, the team got restructured and we joined forces with the Escape Studios Student Experience team.
Overall, my role was to help cultivate and facilitate a positive student community within the College. I did this through internal communications and marketing such as writing student newsletters and organising various events. I also helped communicate feedback between staff, students, and executives.
What were your top highlights on the Degree Apprenticeship programme?
Having the CEO of Pearson as my mentor - During my first year I asked the former CEO of Pearson, John Fallon, to mentor me and it really helped bring up my confidence and understanding of corporate life.
Hosting the ‘Evening with John Fallon’ - hosting an event with the former CEO of Pearson is definitely one of my top highlights! This was an excellent opportunity for students, and I helped create a comfortable atmosphere for everyone. I’m glad I did something that would not only benefit me but the College too!
Being a speaker at our first TEDxPCL event - This is a goal I’ve had since I was a child. My talk was entitled ‘The Advantages of Being Disadvantaged’ where I spoke about my background and how it’s inspired me to strive for the very best.
Innovations to the Student Newsletter - As part of my role I introduced more student generated content to our weekly newsletters which included a new ‘Student of the Week’ section.
How has your apprenticeship helped shape the person you are today?
My apprenticeship tested my work ethic and brought it to a whole new level. Having to balance numerous tasks certainly improved my time management and organisational skills. My communication skills have also flourished as I've had to speak to many different people such as staff, students, executives, and CEOs! As a result, I’ve learnt how to communicate authentically and engage well.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
My main advice to my younger self advice is to never be scared to take risks. At the time I was leaving school, Degree Apprenticeships were a very new concept but I’m glad I took the risk. I now have 2 qualifications and I have graduated completely debt free. Another piece of advice, is to always listen, learn and take everything in from your surroundings.
Where have you go on to work and what is your role?
I now work as a Marketing Executive in the BTEC International Team at Pearson Plc. I applied to this role prior to finishing my apprenticeship and ended up being successful. I’m responsible for managing and strategizing campaigns to help expand BTEC products into emerging markets.
What advice would you give to someone looking to apply for an apprenticeship?
If you’re looking to apply for apprenticeships, I would first recommend seeking advice from other apprentices who have experienced the process. Some other students and I have actually started a podcast called Apprentice Talks where we interview apprentices and share tools, knowledge, and advice. I also recommend starting up a LinkedIn and connecting with professionals in order to start learning about the industry!
If you would like to find out more about Degree Apprenticeships at Pearson College London you can visit this dedicated webpage.