Leeds Beckett’s first full degree apprentice student celebrates graduation
Twenty-two-year-old Robert Halliwell, from Bradford, was one of the first students to start a degree apprenticeship at Leeds Beckett University when the programmes launched in 2017. Alongside his full-time job as a capacity and monitoring analyst at Yorkshire Building Society, Robert has completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Digital and Technology Solutions, funded by his employer.
Whilst other degree apprenticeship students have completed Masters’ degrees and Bachelor’s top-up degrees, Robert is the first student to complete the full three levels of a Bachelor’s degree as a degree apprentice.
Robert said: “For me, the main attraction of a degree apprenticeship was the opportunity to gain work experience whilst studying for a degree. Leeds Beckett University was one of my initial choices before discovering the degree apprenticeship programme, so I was pleased to hear that they were offering the Digital and Technology Solutions course.
“The combination of studying and working in this way has been perfect - having the ability to apply what you learn in a real work scenario really helps when studying for exams, assessments or writing reports.
As a capacity and monitoring analyst for Yorkshire Building Society, Robert’s job involves ensuring all online services are both available and performing optimally for customers and colleagues.
He explained: “I have been able to apply all the modules from the course in my everyday work – providing new ways of working and resolving technical problems - for example automating time consuming daily tasks within my area. All of which have been greatly appreciated.
“Being a degree apprenticeship student is no different from being a full-time student – I could use all the facilities, and get involved with societies and clubs. I competed in the Cyber Crime Cup 2019 at the Etihad Stadium, where our LBU team came fourth in the UK!
“I would describe the degree apprenticeship as the ideal start to a career or career change. I would highly recommend the degree apprenticeship to anyone - the support from both Leeds Beckett University and Yorkshire Building Society has been amazing throughout.”
Following in Robert’s footsteps, six more members of staff at Yorkshire Building Society are starting their BSc (Hons) Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprentice courses with Leeds Beckett this September.
Wayne McLaughlin, Capacity and Performance Lead at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Rob has been an inspiration since day one and a great deal of this is down to the apprenticeship course Rob has had the pleasure of attending. Each step of the course has helped Rob to expand on his knowledge and transform the YBS monitoring capabilities. The relationship between Leeds Beckett and YBS has been incredible, with continuous feedback on Rob’s progress throughout and additional support for Rob during the four-year course.”
Leeds Beckett currently has a total of 850 students studying across 20 degree apprenticeship programmes, from foundation degree to masters’ level, in a range of subjects including nursing; business management – including an MBA for senior leaders; engineering; architecture; and law. A new Masters’ degree in Digital and Technology Solutions also starts this September.
Ian Maude, who manages a dedicated degree apprenticeship team at Leeds Beckett, said: “A degree apprenticeship is a great option for people of any age wanting to study for a degree whilst having a full-time job - they are able to gain work experience – or progress in their career - while having a degree paid for by their employer.
“For employers, we describe degree apprenticeships as ‘growing your own graduate’. You can take on an apprentice at aged 18 and mould and shape them into your company while they do a degree. This builds a loyal employee who is likely to stay in the company for a long time. Equally, they are a great way of retaining experienced employees, by investing in their career progression.”
For more information, please visit our degree apprenticeships website.