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Alice Belcher

BEng Applied Engineering Programme

Why did you decide to do a Degree Apprenticeship?

A Degree Apprenticeship appealed to me as I would be combining studying with industry experience. This meant I could apply what I was learning at university straight back into my job, and see how it related. In addition, all my education was paid for by my company and I was earning a good wage from day one.

Briefly describe your role and your apprenticeship

My home department is called Vehicle Configuration and Testing Systems (VCATS), and ultimately we make sure the vehicle is electrically sound. However, during my apprenticeship, I did many placements at JLR, not just those that related to the job I would be doing, but also ones to broaden my knowledge, for example I did a six week placement in Battery Research.

What did you enjoy the most about your studies?

I enjoyed the break from work to attend university and being with my apprentice cohort. As most of the education was done via distance learning, the weeks together at university were useful to exchange hints and tips with other apprentices regarding revision and anything else we were struggling with.

I particularly enjoyed the final two years of university where the assignments were all based around our job and workplace. This made me investigate numerous things I would not have researched otherwise such as maintenance techniques.

What are you doing now?

Currently, I look after the software on pre-build phases on Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Discovery. I check that the software required on these vehicles is all in place and communicate if there are any problems. A solution will then be devised between myself and the programme leads. If software is not in place the vehicles will fail electrical tests.

What skills are you applying to your role?

Communication is a key part of my role. I have regular meetings with the wider programme team and it is essential that any software problems are highlighted and resolved. My role also requires excellent organisation skills. There can be many pre-build phases on at a single time, so I have to prioritise my tasks.

How has the Degree Apprenticeship helped your career?

The Degree Apprenticeship has given me the qualifications, skills and experience to advance in my career. Also, the placements I completed during the apprenticeship expanded my contacts network which has already proven useful in the short time I have been in my full-time role.

What are your ambitions for the future?

In the immediate future I would like to complete my Master’s Degree. I believe this would help me further into the future if I decide to apply for management roles.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone thinking about doing a Degree Apprenticeship? 

During the two years where I had exams, I found having a plan of what subjects I was going to revise on each night really helped. I also found revising in small chunks regularly worked better for me, such as an hour each evening, rather than cramming it all into one session.