Hello, I Am Oli
I knew for some time that I wasn’t going to go to uni straight after finishing school, so I decided (with some help from my parents!) to look into other opportunities available to me.
Tell us more about your experience
The main reason that I chose to do an apprenticeship rather than go to uni was because I was unimpressed with my sixth form being very university-focused, with no other options presented to us for other options for further study. I knew for some time that I wasn’t going to go to uni straight after finishing school, so I decided (with some help from my parents!) to look into other opportunities available to me. By chance, I found ads for apprenticeships close to where I lived in the scientific field – something that really interested me.
In my role, I spend a lot of my time in the lab running experiments. These are mainly based on immune cells. The rest of my time is taken up with data analysis from these experiments and presenting my results in various formats. The most exciting project I’ve been involved in while in my apprenticeship revolves around a medicine that is currently being used to fight severe COVID-19 infections. We’ve taken medication and adapted it from its original purpose to help people – that’s pretty cool.
I definitely felt the proudest after completing a set of experiments where I was able to present the data to people all over the world and even in partner companies. I was able to see the work that I’ve accomplished be the main focus of the next steps taken by the company – it was amazing!
”If I could give advice to anyone considering an apprenticeship, it would be to explore your options.”
As you are jumping straight into a job role, you need to make sure that it’ll be the right fit for you. So, contacting the company offering the apprenticeship, doing research into the potential providers, and making sure that you’re reading to pursue that route is vital to your success during the interview stages.
From a very young age, I have been a carer for a disabled member of my family. It has been a very difficult and time-consuming part of my life – being able to come from this situation and get to a really good place has been great to look back on! There have been some helpful assistance programmes at GSK for employees going through any kind of difficulties and there are great LGBT and ERG (Employee Resource Group) groups. As well as that, my line manager has been very supportive of me, especially while I have been experiencing some mental health issues.
My university, like my employers, has support groups and I regularly meet with staff from the university to discuss my progress. Being able to work with machines that are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and knowing that I know how to use them is incredible to me!
”Overall, in my apprenticeship, I have learnt loads of incredible skills that are unique to my job.”
I am very lucky in that my employer does not require me to stay at the company after the end of my apprenticeship. Despite this, they have expressed that I won’t have to worry about not having a job there, or with one of its subsidiaries, after! If you know what you want to do as a career but are suffering from some trepidation towards the idea of going to uni, definitely have a look for apprenticeships on sites like GetMyFirstJob. It’s possible to do roles in thousands of different disciplines, and that means there’s almost certainly one for you!
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