Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon
Attitudes towards apprenticeships are changing and with the prospect of rising university costs, we believe that expanding options for young people exploring STEM careers can only be a sign of progress.
We know that there is no single pathway to pursuing a passion for STEM. Many of our members are currently considering the choice of applying for an apprenticeship or degree programme at university. Increasingly, they are facing the dilemma of considering a degree apprenticeship versus a degree.
Degree, degree apprenticeship or apprenticeship?
Stemettes has many beneficiaries who have challenged the status quo to take up highly sought-after apprenticeship opportunities in the STEM sector. Vice-Chair of the Stemette Futures Youth Board Ayushi is a Software Engineering Apprentice, studying towards a degree in Digital and Technology Solutions at Queen Mary University.
“Apprenticeships are valuable in helping improve confidence early on. As a young person, opportunities to discover what you want to do as a career and what you are truly capable of are hard to find. Apprenticeships alleviate this pressure on individuals to search everywhere to find this experience,” says Ayushi.
Ayushi had applied to do a university degree but was swayed by the sponsorship and support she would receive from her employer together with the prospect of a salary and debt free option.
Apprenticeships are valuable in helping improve confidence early on.
Another member who has reaped the benefit of taking on a degree apprenticeship is Akua Apeagyei, a Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft on a degree apprenticeship programme. She’s also a young carer, an award-winner and the founder of Anomalys Foundation – an Instagram community she has created to bring more young people into STEM.
“Doing an apprenticeship enabled me to continue to learn and gain valuable experience, all of which fitted my learning style. It completely changed my life and gave me entry into an industry I never thought I could get into.”
Role modelling apprenticeships in the workplace
TeamStemette has also benefited directly from apprenticeships. Our Partnerships Liaison Analyst Stemette Noelle Wu who has a passion for gaming, took on a 15-month Level 3 Business Administrator apprenticeship which allowed her to balance her social media role with us whilst learning new business skills, time management and prioritisation abilities and taking on a TikTok project to develop her understanding of the popular platform. Upon finishing her apprenticeship, she started a full-time role in our partnerships team.
Apprenticeships are vital to the changing landscape of the workplace and offering a range of learning opportunities for the next generation of women in STEM can only be a good thing.