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Beverley Ngo

Beverley Ngo

Job title: DTS Apprentice (Software with Data)
Organisation: Jaguar Land Rover
Course: Digital Technology Solutions

Reflecting back on your first year of your Degree Apprenticeship with Jaguar Land Rover and WMG – what is the most useful thing you have learnt?

The most useful thing that I have learnt is how to apply what I have learnt at University, to my work in my job. We learnt a lot of programming in our first year of University, so I have taken that knowledge to create programs to speed up tasks for my team at work. The technology used in my team at work is quite traditional and tasks can be time consuming, so being able to contribute to the team and make it more efficient is a great feeling.


Was the course and Degree Apprenticeship what you expected? If not how/why?

Yes and no. It was expected in terms of the amount of University work there is. We completed five modules in first year and each module had a series of assessments, whilst working a job. It was quite work-heavy but I expected this before I came. The thing I was not expecting was how quickly I would be able to contribute to work. I thought that I would be doing a lot of work shadowing, but I was immediately given a project to do. I felt very involved from the very start and found it a fantastic opportunity to get learning.


Covid-19 meant we had to switch to online learning pretty quickly – how was that experience? What was/is the best thing about online learning (if any)? Any tips?

I found myself adapting to the new online learning very quickly. The lectures were recorded which was very useful, because if there was anything that I was unsure of, I could watch the lecture back to go over things. The lecturers were also very helpful and were able to answer questions straight away if you had any. One thing that I found a bit more difficult to do online was group work. However, there are advantages of being able to work online such as not having to travel and being able to have as many cups of tea in my pyjamas as I want! My tips for anyone who is learning online is to make sure you have a large enough desk space to work with, as you want enough space for your laptop/pc as well as paper for making notes (and maybe a little corner for your tea or coffee). There is nothing worse than feeling like you must cram everything into one tiny space! I also recommend investing in a good laptop. At the start of online learning, I was using my very old laptop which was very slow and even restarted in the middle of a lecture! For second year, I invested in a new macbook pro which has been the best decision, as it is much quicker.


Briefly describe your role and the types of projects/work you have been involved in

I am in the VCATS (vehicle configuration and test systems) team within the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering department at Jaguar Land Rover. Our team supports the electrical testing of the car and the validation of vehicle assembly. My first project that I was involved in was part of my assignment for our programming module. I wrote a program which speeds up the viewing of data that members of my team need to access. Being able to get involved so early on is fantastic as I am able to consolidate my university learning whilst benefitting my team.

I have also had to opportunity to have placements at two of our assembly plants: Castle Bromwich and Solihull. This was a fantastic opportunity, as it improved my understanding of the manufacture of our vehicles. It is not easy to visualise how the cars are actually manufactured from the office in Gaydon! I was able to see the assembly of many of our Jaguar and Land Rover cars, including the wonderful F-Type. These placements have probably been my highlight of my apprenticeship so far as I was able to learn alongside some of the engineers at the plants and gain knowledge about the business that I would not have been able to elsewhere.


What have you enjoyed the most about your studies? 

This may sound strange but the thing I enjoy most about my studies is just being a student. Whilst having a job it is easy to forget that you are still a student, so I have tried to embrace the University experience as much as I can! I really enjoyed going onto campus in Term 1, especially the brand-new DAC (Degree Apprenticeship Centre), and hope to be able to return to it soon. I have also taken part in extra-curricular clubs and societies such as the Symphony Orchestra and Cheerleading, because you can still join clubs and societies as an apprenticeship student. I feel that it would be a great waste of opportunity to only turn up to work and my lectures without making use of what Warwick University has to offer, so that is why I enjoy being a student as much as I can.


What skills/knowledge from the course are you applying to your role?

The programming that I have learnt is something that I have applied to my role. I have used it in a project in Term 1 and will continue to use it as my team does not do much programming, so we are here to do that! In addition, there are also soft skills from the course that I apply to my role, such as project management, communication and team working skills.

I have also been expanding my skillset outside of my course. I completed the Harvard online course CS50: Introduction to Computer Science, over lockdown. I also completed another Machine Learning course on CodeCademy. I really enjoy completing extra courses I think that you can never gain too much knowledge and you can always learn more. I would encourage everyone to expand their skill set as much as they can. I have plans to complete some more courses so that I have even more skills that I can hopefully apply to my work.


What are your ambitions for the future?

My ambition for the future is to do well in my degree and hopefully obtain a first. I want to experience as many placements at Jaguar Land Rover as I can whilst studying, as I do not want to be limited to my current department and want to see how different departments contribute to the business. My interests lie in data science, so I would like to gain more knowledge of data science over the years and hopefully in the long term, work with the data science team at Jaguar Land Rover.


Why did you decide to do a degree apprenticeship? 

I decided to do a degree apprenticeship as I really liked the idea of being able to work whilst studying. I personally learn better when I am doing things, so learning on the job is something that I believe is truly beneficial. I wanted to be able to apply what I was learning to the real world, so the apprenticeship was the perfect opportunity for that. The funded degree and salary was obviously a bonus too! The degree itself appealed to me as I have always enjoyed maths and problem solving, so DTS felt like the right fit for me.


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

Make sure that the industry that you are going into is something that interests you. You will be spending four years with a company in that industry and not having an interest in it will make it incredibly boring for you! Having a genuine interest in that industry will make your working life a lot easier as well as University, because you will most likely be doing assignments on a work-based project.

Find out more about our Digital Technology Solutions Programme or Degree Apprenticeships we offer.