After leaving school, Phoebe Chapman, 21, chose to fast-track her IT career by starting a digital apprenticeship with The Open University (OU) while working at technology company RDT.
Phoebe’s journey began with an interest in video gaming. Having completed A-Levels in maths, economics and history, she knew that a role in IT was the route she wanted to pursue.
“I love the way technology is evolving and I wanted to be a part of that change,” she said.
“IT appealed to me, despite the perception that there were more males in the industry. That's partly the reason I wanted to make a difference and join, so that I could help make it more equal.”
Phoebe was drawn to apprenticeships and started researching options in her local area.
I knew I didn't want to go to traditional university, so I looked into degree apprenticeship options. The work experience you get whilst doing the apprenticeship is vital and especially given how competitive jobs are these days.Phoebe Chapman
Engineering Apprentice, RDT
With RDT, a company that develops software for the insurance sector, Phoebe could study the OU’s Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship, whilst learning practical skills to help her progress within the company.
“In order to get the role at RDT, I had two telephone interviews and they provided me with some coding challenges to make sure that I had the capabilities. I also came into the office for an apprenticeship day and met all the other candidates.
“It wasn't long after I got home that I got a phone call and here I am today.”
Learning whilst earning has been made possible with OU study. With support from her employer, Phoebe easily fits her studies around the demands of her job.
She said: “The Open University's learning model is very flexible. There are weekly timetables, so you can stay up to date. If you've got many modules on at once, it keeps you on track and it's got reminders about assignment deadlines.
“The tutors are all really approachable and you can easily message them for any help. It's been really good so far.”
After only a year of her apprenticeship programme, Phoebe has gained vital skills she’ll need to build a career in the competitive tech world.
I'm specialising in the software engineering module. It covers how IT projects work, business organisation, web technologies and how systems are developed. I've already managed to apply my learning to my current role.
When I complete the apprenticeship, I'd like to become a senior engineer and to mentor other apprentices. I’d particularly like to work with younger girls to support them getting into the industry.Phoebe Chapman
Engineering Apprentice, RDT
With the finish line in sight, Phoebe is excited to see what her future in IT will entail.
“Once I’ve completed the apprenticeship it’s going to feel brilliant. I've been able to apply all this learning and it's going to be satisfying to finish it. All my hard work will have paid off. It's just going to be really good.”
Learn more about OU apprenticeships, including the Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship and hear more from Phoebe below.