4th March 2022
We recently chatted to Alex Cooper, a Foundation degree apprentice from Hitachi Energy in Stafford to hear all about her apprenticeship journey and why she chose to pursue a career in engineering.
Q. How was school for you?
A. I must admit I didn't really enjoy school, and I struggled a lot with school as I have Dyslexia. I left school with GCSEs in English, maths, BTEC Science, Art & Design and Hospitality & Catering.
Q. Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
A. I left school and qualified as a Hairdresser, but shortly after completing the course, I realised that it wasn't the career for me. After a while, thinking about what it was I wanted to do I decided to look at engineering as an option. I have an interest in engineering as I've always been involved with off-road racing with my family, which is why I decided to look for an engineering apprenticeship.
Q. What courses have you studied to finally get to your Foundation Degree?
A. I have studied NVQs at Level 2 and 3 in Engineering and most recently, a HNC in Electrical and Electronic Technology and also the HND in Electrical and Electronic Technology.
Q. How has your apprenticeship changed your life and career so far?
A. I have noticed that my attitude towards education has massively improved. I am more willing to put in the effort and time to ensure that I get the best grade possible. I never thought that I would be the one to continue my education, let alone be working on my Foundation Degree. I am now already thinking about the idea of progressing onto a full bachelor's degree and I have proven myself massively.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge?
A. The most challenging part was getting back into the learning and carrying out assignment work after having a few years out of education. Another challenge was managing and balancing my college assignment and my day-to-day work. After the first year, it felt normal and I was able to manage them both and find the time to carry on with my life outside of college and work. It did become more challenging when I became full-time at work as I was taking on more responsibility which meant less time to look at college work, however the rewarding feeling being told all your hard work for assignments and revision for exams has paid off, really pushes you to carry on.
Q. And the biggest reward?
A. The biggest reward for me is seeing all my hard work getting recognised by my colleagues and seeing how it will all impact my future by having the skills and knowledge to help me to get an internal promotion within the company.
Q. Finally what would you say to other people in your position, who are considering taking 'the leap' back into education or training?
A. It is never too late to change your mind, whether it's a change in career or a need for progression. It will be challenging at first but after time and with help from teaching staff, you become more binding towards education and finding yourself wanting more as you realise you are worth more than you though all those years ago.