My degree apprenticeship journey
Samantha Woods has recently completed a four-year degree apprenticeship at E.ON in business management and leadership and has now secured a full-time role with the company as a business improvement analyst.
Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship with E.ON?
When I learned about degree apprenticeships as an alternative to traditional higher education, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do and E.ON’s unique programme of rotational placements really stood out for me! I had been working part-time in various roles since I was sixteen, and I had always liked the idea of earning money from a young age, however, the value of a degree still resonated with me. I applied to university as well, but it wasn’t something that I was excited about like everyone else at my sixth form college, so I just knew it wasn’t the route I wanted to go down. Whereas the degree apprenticeship approach provided me with the ideal balance of working, learning, and earning, especially with E.ON’s competitive starting salary.
Describe your experience
I was lucky enough to start my degree apprenticeship with E.ON on the Future Leader’s Business Management programme in 2019. Within this role I was given the opportunity to move departments every 6 months to a new area of the business. This has not only allowed me to gain experience in different areas such as HR, strategy, highways lighting and sales just to name a few, but as well as this, it has helped me to identify for myself which areas I am really passionate about and be able to effectively apply my university learnings to my current role. It sounds cliché, but no day was the same, which makes it an extremely exciting scheme and something I would completely recommend to anyone.
What do you feel are the advantages of doing an apprenticeship over other training or education?
As a young person, working out which steps to take for your career can be daunting, however I believe an apprenticeship was 100% the best route for me. As an apprentice, you can start climbing the career ladder straight from school whilst gaining qualifications, meaning you have another opportunity to be ahead of your competition. My apprenticeship has also allowed me to build up a real rapport with my employer, meaning that there is huge opportunity of becoming a full-time employee once the four-year scheme is over.
Throughout my scheme I have met a whole host of people that have relevant connections in my industry, both through the business itself but also externally. The exposure gained through being on an apprenticeship scheme has enabled me to grow my confidence and improve my communication skills massively which I don’t believe I would have been able to do so quickly through the traditional higher education route.
How has your apprenticeship helped you progress in your career?
Coming straight from school, where I did not know what I wanted to do long term, to having an experience in multiple different business areas, some of which I didn’t even know existed in a big company like E.ON, has enabled me to not only realise the area I want to specialise in but also allowed me to continue my personal development and build my professional network throughout. Without this apprenticeship I may have spent years changing roles, completing interviews, and moving to different companies to ultimately be in a role that I felt unfulfilled in as well as not utilising my strengths and passions. I have now secured a full-time position at E.ON as a business improvement analyst earning over £40k a year, which is something I definitely would have never thought was possible at the age of 22! I can’t wait to see what the rest of my career has in store for me!