Last week, as my youngest walked into school for the first time, starting her education, I went home to start my degree apprenticeship. Returning to education, after twenty years.
Hearing about the apprenticeship scheme at work last year, I looked into it further. Toying with the idea for a good while, I decided to apply. I have been in my role at work for the best part of 9 years, and I wanted something to challenge me in a new way. With an opportunity to learn via a degree or masters, on the job with no negative financial implications wasn’t something to be passed up.
Ten days after I submitted my application to Manchester Met University, I received my offer letter. This turned the possibility into a reality. The offer letter did make me pause to make sure I was doing the right thing for my family. With two young kids, full time working would I be able to incorporate study into my already full life.
After talking it through with Dave, I decided to accept the offer, with the plan of doing any study needed after the kids had gone to bed. My time with the kids was my biggest concern as I did not want to impact that. My time management will just have to be extremely well managed.
It was now official, I was returning to education as a BSc(Hons) Digital and Technology Solutions Apprentice
Initially, I thought my induction would be on campus, but this was changed to online. As this is an apprenticeship degree, my university time is during work hours, so the travel guidance at work applies. This meant that I would get my first taste of UK university life from my workspace at home.
I was both concerned and relieved. Concerned because without that campus feel, would I be engaged and motivated? Then the other part of me was relieved. With the challenges of covid19, it gave me some reassurance, as I am in a higher risk group.
So how did it go?
Notwithstanding the little technical glitches, I wouldn’t have known it was the first time they had done an online induction at MMU. The first day was the initial induction. It was more engaging and motivating than I imagined it would be and with it being hosted through Microsoft Teams, we could type in chat without interrupting the sessions. It helped make you feel a part of a group even sat at home, something I was worried would be missing when returning to education in the online form.
The next two days were boot-camps, again done over teams. It was engaging and fun, which made it a good introduction to university. We were able to utilise teams chat and help each other. I got to learn a little more about others in my cohort and also experience my lecturer’s interesting music preference.
The final day was another chance to ask the apprenticeship team, tutors, and skills coaches questions before ending the day learning how to access all aspects of the course content and applications required.
Now to start my course.
2020 has been a strange year, it may have some big challenges, but also opportunities. Anna has also returned to education, to not only study but to enter the teaching world.
Today I start my first study day as a Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprentice, and although will be online, after last week I am excited and ready to learn.