Case study

Aspiring Leader apprentice — Emily Taylor

After passing her GCSEs, Emily enrolled onto the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), equivalent to studying for A-levels, before joining British Airways' (BA) four-year Aspiring Leader apprenticeship scheme

Why did you decide to do a degree apprenticeship?

I knew that I wanted to obtain a degree, but I felt that I would gain greater insight and experience by working alongside business professionals during my studies.

With the degree being incorporated into the role, I felt this would improve my understanding, and thereby make me both a better student and employee.

I can also earn while I learn and so hopefully complete my studies with lots of experience and very little or no debt.

How did you find and apply for your apprenticeship with BA?

I looked at GOV.UK - Find an apprenticeship and sites like Not Going To Uni (NGTU), but didn't really find any business degree apprenticeships within sectors that interested me.

I then did some research on employers with highly rated apprenticeship programmes and BA stood out as a brand and sector that really appealed.

When I looked into their available apprenticeships in more depth on the BA Careers website, the Aspiring Leaders opportunity really attracted me, so I applied and was delighted to receive an offer.

How does the apprenticeship work?

I'm doing placements across the business for several months at a time during this four-year programme, while studying for the Level 6 in Chartered Management. I tend to be assigned research projects, working alongside the existing teams, but the specifics vary depending on the placement.

What do you enjoy about your apprenticeship?

I love the variation in roles, responsibilities and opportunities I face - being able to see different facets of the business and interact with all sorts of people. I've been able to develop as a person in ways I never could have imagined and seen things I could only begin to dream about. Even though I've only just started this scheme, I've already learned so much - everyone has been really welcoming and willing to share their skills, experience, and expertise.

What's the most challenging part of your apprenticeship?

Pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Meeting new people doesn't come easily to me, but in a company with so many employees, there are always new faces and new names to learn.

In addition, having just finished Year 13, finding somewhere to live, experiencing the joys of the daily commute, and adjusting to corporate life has been challenging.

I've had to put a lot of effort into doing new and slightly scary things, but it's been worth it so far as I've already seen and done so many new things and grown in confidence and experience.

What support have you received?

In the lead up to the start date there were several meetings and get-togethers with the apprenticeship team and my cohort, which was a massive help on the first day.

Everyone has been very friendly and supportive and that has helped enormously, and I have regular catch ups with my apprenticeship and placement managers.

What are your plans after your apprenticeship?

My aim is to secure a permanent role with BA. As I'm only on my first placement, I'm not sure which areas would suit me best, but I look forward to finding out.

What advice would you give to others considering a degree apprenticeship?

Do it. Get involved, get out there, try everything. The people you meet, the places you'll see, and the opportunities are incredible. You will get to experience working life in a way that few young people are able to, without missing out on the qualifications.

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