For many young people, choosing which path to take when leaving college isn’t an easy decision. Weighing up the pros and cons of university versus an apprenticeship is a difficult choice students frequently have to grapple with, but what if it was possible to do both?
BT Wholesale offers a hybrid between university and apprenticeships, offering degree apprenticeships which provide students with the opportunity to work full time at BT Wholesale and obtain a degree at the same time. They’re immersed into technical aspects of the role, learning about the ins and outs of working in the channel which is supplemented by a structured learning programme to develop key skills. At the end of a degree apprenticeship, BT apprentices have three years of work experience, a degree and no student debt - so it’s a win-win.
We spoke with Nick Archer, Account Manager in the Mobile Infrastructure Team at BT Wholesale about his experiences as a degree apprentice. He joined the team on the B2B sales apprenticeship programme in 2017, graduating with a Professional Practise in B2B Sales Degree from Middlesex University earlier this year.
“Throughout my apprenticeship, I’ve worked with the mobile team, focusing on the Mobile Infrastructure aspect of the business. I’ve been immersed into the market and given real responsibility on projects from the get-go. Being tasked with dealing with customers from so early on has really developed my confidence and key business skills. For example, in my second year, I had the opportunity to run an event around network connectivity for some of the largest event organisations in the UK, which was a standout moment for me.
“Joining the apprenticeship scheme with BT Wholesale is particularly beneficial because the programmes are built in-house by the team. They really want you to succeed and invest in your development. During the university course, we learnt about the science of selling, fixed sales, and market strategy as well as completing a level six business management qualification. Everything we were taught is applied to our work at BT Wholesale - nothing is wasted. We have to evidence how we’ve applied the textbook learnings to real life situations, so there’s no ‘learning for learning’s sake’ and it’s really interesting to see the theories come to life off the page.
“BT is a really exciting company to work for because mobile, telecoms and technology is an evolving industry which provides vital connectivity across the country. A highlight has definitely been providing connectivity and masts to the emergency services. It’s clear that our work has a real, tangible impact on the world around us which is a great feeling.”
It’s been a challenging year for young people starting out in the world of work, COVID-19 has enforced remote working and postponed many social events. So, how has Nick found working in this new environment?
“It’s been a unique experience working with the team throughout COVID-19, but BT has been really supportive by focusing on our mental health and putting measures in place to support us. In some ways, we’ve had to adapt how we approach our relationships with partners. The channel thrives on face-to-face interaction, so working remotely has been challenging. But, in some ways, working remotely has placed many people in the same boat. Working with video conferencing software and attending virtual events has allowed us to develop closer connections with our network, so it’s been great in that sense.”
Find out more about BT Wholesale’s apprenticeship schemes here