Paige Thomas

Tell us a little bit about you?

My name is Paige Thomas and I am undergoing a degree apprenticeship with Transport for London. This entails working Monday to Thursday and studying for my degree on a Friday. On a personal note – I love everything to do with planes, well the entire aviation industry and baking! 

What are you studying?

BA (Hons) Business Management

Where are you working?

I work for Transport for London and I can reassure you that I do not drive the bus or tube! There seems to be a common misconception from everyone that I meet that I’m a driver! In fact, I currently work within the strategy team where I work collaboratively with Surface and London Underground directorates and colleagues across the business, to translate the organisation’s strategic objectives for Transport.

The primary objective was set by the Mayor to see over 80% of journeys made by public transport, walking or cycling by 2041. The surface aspect includes the Overground, Dock Light Railways and Tram services whereby I am involved with prioritisation of schemes and the creation of the business plan. Within the London Underground team, I am involved in the creation of articulating the metrics and Key Performance Indictors. This appetite comes at an interesting time where the company is, currently facing financial challenges and changes in consumer demographics and behaviors. This range of challenges, responsibilities and exposure in such an environment means I am learning all kinds of skills which strengthen my emotional intelligence.

Why did you choose a Degree Apprenticeship?

I think I knew that the typical route of going to university was not something that I was too keen on doing. If I’m being completely honest, I never went to a university open day! I knew that I wanted more than going to university and I saw how valuable degree apprenticeships were from the sound research that I had conducted.

Moreover, there were other elements that fostered my interest in this path, like the networking exposure, the human capital and unique experiences that I knew that I would embark upon. Earning a salary as well as studying really did tick all the boxes for me.

What have you enjoyed most about your course?

Being able to meet some truly inspirational people, ranging from colleagues within my company to my lecturers, who come from within the industry and other apprentices from different companies. Overall, the networking pool that I have been exposed to is remarkable!

What have you learnt so far during your work placement?

That getting an early night really is important! I think that for me, the key skill that I have grasped is the importance of time management. There’s a lot to take in initially and you can feel really inundated with everything, but the support and guidance that my work provides me with reinforces that they really do have my best interest at heart and they genuinely want me to progress and to become an influential leader.

How has your placement helped you with your studies?

There are some clear parallels between my placement and university course: the course modules are broken down to ensure that my work experiences can be nurtured into an assignment. For example, my research module allowed me to investigate a problem that existed within the organisation and allowed me to nurture mitigation strategies to help the company in the future. 

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

Do a lot of research! There are many companies that offer apprenticeships today and you really want to ensure that the company that you’re applying to has close parallels to your work ethos and values, think about your personal goals.

Remember, these programs are not second-class choice, there are a lot of misconceptions that people believe that apprenticeships are for those that are looking for vocational careers paths. This is far from the case: in fact these schemes are highly competitive and my advice would be to be prepared when it comes to the interviews.