Holly Garrett

Tell us a little bit about you?

My Name is Holly, I am 20 years old and I am currently in my third and final year of the Rotational Degree Apprenticeship scheme at Pearson College London.

What are you studying?

I am studying a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. This means at the end of my three years with Pearson College I will graduate with a BA (Hons) Business Management Degree and three years work experience. 

Where are you working?

As I am on the Rotational Degree Apprenticeship scheme I am lucky enough to work in four different placements across various FTSE 100 companies. My first placement was at Tesco within their Social Media and Digital Content Team and my second placement was at IBM within their Channel sales division. I am currently on my third rotation in the strategic projects team at Pearson College London. 

Why did you choose a Degree Apprenticeship?

I, like most students approaching the end of A Levels, was planning to go to a Traditional University. I had applied, firmed and started packing... however when the opportunity to be part of the UK's first ever rotational degree apprenticeship arose I knew it was the perfect course for me and an opportunity I could not turn down. 

I knew I wanted to study a Business Management degree at university but I was unsure what specific area of business I wanted to work in after I graduated. The prospect of gaining real world work experience in three different companies and four different business disciplines was amazing and I knew that not only would it helping me stand out in the job market but it may also help me gain more of an idea about what I wanted to do in the future. In addition to this I can’t help but admit the prospect of earning an annual salary whilst having no student debt was also rather tempting!

Two years on and looking back I am 100% sure I made the right decision. I have already learn't so much and I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have been given.

What have you enjoyed most about your course?

The element I have enjoyed most about the degree apprenticeship is definitely my three work placements. I've worked within some great teams and have had the opportunity to learn from some great leaders and experts in their fields. 

Whilst the study side of the course can be tough it is also really enjoyable. Our seminars are always  interactive and cover the most relevant topics and case studies. Additionally all our academic tutors have real world industry experience meaning they can really bring the subjects to life in the classroom.

What have you learnt so far, during your work placement?

During the last two years I have had the opportunity to grow my knowledge in a wealth of areas. During my time at Tesco I was able to expand my knowledge of business-to-consumer marketing whilst gaining a vital understanding of the importance of digital marketing, most specifically social media, to large corporations. During my time working at Pearson College I've have the opportunity to further build on this marketing knowledge by working in business-to-business communications, a completely different type of marketing which now means my knowledge covers a wide breadth of areas. 

Being exposed to the corporate world has also allowed me to meet many new people and build up a network of colleagues and friends. I have undoubtedly grown in confidence and have also developed my communication skills through learning the ability to question things in a constructive way. 

Finally, I have also had the opportunity to attend numerous training courses such as ‘presentation skills’, ‘personal effectiveness’, and ‘resilience and vitality’, all of which were extremely valuable and relatable to the real world.

How has your placement helped you with your studies?

Working alongside studying is at times very stressful, especially when deadlines are looming! That being said, they are undoubtedly a huge benefit to eachother. At school I often found that what I was learning wasn’t relevant to the real world. However, I can now relate the business theories that I am studying directly to scenarios at work, and likewise, I can use my work experience to challenge and criticise these academic theories. Furthermore working alongside studying provides me with an amazing opportunity to put my studies straight into practice in the real world meaning the two really do go hand-in-hand.