Over the last four years, numerous Bradfield leavers have gone on to take up apprenticeships or join school leaver programmes as an entry into the world of work. CGI, CBRE, PwC, Cisco and Cazenove Capital are just some of the organisations Bradfieldians have gone on to work for while gaining degrees in Business, Business & Technology Solutions and Digital & Cyber Security as well as qualifications as Chartered Accountants and Chartered Surveyors. Others are enjoying valuable opportunities to gain work experience and learn on the job.
Here, five Old Bradfieldians discuss their decisions to not take the university route and reveal what they are doing now in the world of work.
When I left Bradfield, it was on a gap year to earn some money and get experience before uni. A few months in, I realised I would pretty much end up back where I was post university so, why go? Four years later and I’m an established IT Business Analyst helping to deliver high quality features and solutions to our client facing users.
Cisco has taught, and are still teaching me, everything I need to know so no prior understanding was required and it really is a great opportunity as an alternative to university.Kealey Meldrum (J 15-20)
A fifth of my working week is dedicated to studying for my degree and even though the degree is in technology, I have the opportunity to go down a business route in the second year. Cisco offers its apprentices rotations in different sectors within the business to allow you to find which sector you enjoy most and would like to graduate into.
Although there are lots of benefits of going to university, I chose to carry out a Degree Apprenticeship as it is a great way to gain experience, not have any debt from student loans, get paid and graduate with a job to kick start a career by the end of the three years. One of the concerns I had was about the social aspect, but I have quickly found out it really is what you make it, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out, especially as you have the money to go and visit your friends at uni as well.
I had no previous knowledge in technology and was planning on studying English Literature prior to taking up the apprenticeship. Cisco has taught, and are still teaching me, everything I need to know so no prior understanding was required and it really is a great opportunity as an alternative to university.
I knew I wanted to get in the door early at a company and I wanted to work within some form of sales.Ed Bray (F 14-18)
What do Orama Solutions do? We exclusively partner with some of the fastest growing software start-ups in EMEA and the US. We have strong relationships within some of the top performing venture capitalists who plug us directly into some of their most exciting start-ups, we then go on a journey with these companies, scaling their sales and technical functions from zero employees to a successful exit or buyout.
The company has two sides to it: Business Development and Sales and Recruitment. I fall into the former where my role consists of finding new clients and venture capitalists to partner with. We then help aggressively scale their sales and technical teams across all major revenue generating regions in EMEA and the US. I work closely with my team who sit on the recruitment side who will go to market and resource candidates for our clients which we hope will be hired.
I think the best thing about sales and recruitment is that you don’t need a degree and you can go straight into it after school. I decided to go straight into work after Bradfield as I knew I wanted to get in the door early at a company and I wanted to work within some form of sales. I was fortunate enough to land at Orama which is growing fast and due to open an office in New York later this year.
My decision not to attend university has not thwarted my personal/professional development one bit and I continue to enjoy the work I do.Loic Marion (H 13-18)
I am in my second year having joined PwC London in September 2018 and I am currently a Senior Associate at PwC Jersey having transferred there last November. I am currently studying and working towards obtaining the ACCA Qualification. In Jersey I sit in the personal/corporate tax team where we also provide services to trusts.
Overall, it has been an incredible experience. My decision not to attend university has not thwarted my personal/professional development one bit and I continue to enjoy the work I do. Most individuals assumed I would be treated differently, or that my work would be less important, however it has been far from the truth. I’ve had the opportunity to work on some very prominent clients and to do work that a university graduate would do. Overall, in terms of my experience at a Big 4 firm straight out of school, it has been a decision that I would not change.
It’s certainly not an easy ride, at the end of the day, a Degree Apprentice works full time and attends university – but it’s a fantastic way to get into a role within your chosen career.Harry Banton (G 13-18)
In my final year at Bradfield everyone was talking about how excited they were to go to university. For me, this wasn’t the case – I just wanted to get stuck in to the workplace. When I left in 2018, I joined CGI as a Degree Apprentice, where I have since worked on a huge range of exciting public and private sector projects as a Cyber Security Consultant. This is all in addition to working towards my BSc in Cyber Security from the University of Winchester. When I finish my degree, I will have a guaranteed job with a competitive salary, no student debt, and more industry experience in my chosen field than any other normal university graduate – it’s a win win!
It’s certainly not an easy ride, at the end of the day, a Degree Apprentice works full time and attends university – but it’s a fantastic way to get into a role within your chosen career.