Naeem Wadud

Tell us a little bit about you?

I’m 21 years old, I live in London. I like reading, watching films, playing racquet sports, and fitness. An interesting thing about me, compared to my classmates, is that I didn’t study any business-related subjects for GCSE or A-level; but I did complete five of the ACCA exams in my gap year, which bridged the gap I had in my knowledge.

What are you studying?

BA (Hons) Business Management

Where are you working?

I’m currently at IBM in the Channel Team within systems group. Previously, I have worked within the Higher Education Qualifications team in Pearson and the ‘Below the Line’ Campaign Marketing team at Direct Line Group.  

Why did you choose a Degree Apprenticeship?

I didn’t really know what to study at university and didn’t see the point in accumulating a large debt just to drop out or fail because I wasn’t engaged with the course. When I heard about the Pearson RDA scheme, I couldn’t believe it! The opportunity to work and earn a salary whilst my course fees where paid off seemed unreal. The fact Pearson college London has a focus on gearing studies toward practical application and industry was a huge bonus. 

What have you enjoyed most about your course?

It might sound cliché but being able to see how theory translates into reality is something invaluable that I don’t think I would have learnt anywhere else.

What have you learnt so far during your work placement?

I have learned a wide range of things that have linked back to university and gone beyond. A lot of people have a stigma that an apprentice won’t be given much responsibly or will be given tedious jobs; my experience has been far from that. I’ve been able to design and launch nationwide marketing campaigns and measure their engagement, meet with universities and host board meetings for the qualifications they offer and attend product releases at the forefront of technological innovation, just to name a few experiences.

How has your placement helped you with your studies?

A number of my modules have tied in directly with my work, especially the business consultancy reports and self-managed learning modules that Pearson College London offers. These have allowed me to conduct research and run projects at work. Discussing the conclusions of my findings and presenting solutions, have enabled some of my ideas to be implemented at my work places.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for a degree apprenticeship?

Two things:

Make sure your CV and personal statement stand out – try to add things to your CV and statement that separate you from everyone else. Whether that be extracurricular activities, like sports or arts, or slightly unusual subjects like technology or computer science. Being able to differentiate yourself helps at all levels especially with employers who meet hundreds of young people
with the same qualifications.

Don’t be afraid to try new things – As a bit of an introvert, I was nervous to meet people, to go to events with agencies or business partners, to present work to colleagues or external stakeholders, or even asking too many questions. But I honestly would not change a second of my time and have learnt so much from being pushed into new and exciting situations, that have broken the boundaries of my comfort zone and changed the way I think, work and act.