Derby College: Sam Bowler

The higher apprenticeship route with Rolls-Royce at Derby College has proved to be the ideal choice for Sam Bowler

A higher apprenticeship programme with Rolls-Royce has provided the best of both worlds for Sam Bowler—the chance to achieve a highly regarded qualification while working with one of the world’s best-known companies.

As part of his apprenticeship programme, Sam completed his foundation degree in integrated engineering at Derby College. After studying A-levels in maths, further maths, chemistry and physics, he decided that he wanted to do something practical and gain work experience to make himself more employable. Although he always aspired to study for a degree, Sam did not want to go to university.

He explains: “I was keen to get a practical qualification and the higher apprenticeship also means I don’t have a large amount of debt upon graduation.”

Sam decided to complete the online application for Rolls-Royce which involved four challenging questions and a CV to upload, followed by an interview. When his A-level results came through, his place was confirmed.

He began his studies with Derby College in 2012, choosing the electrical pathway on the foundation degree. “It was challenging at first because electronics were a new area for me, but the opportunity allowed me to put the theory I was learning into practice and gave me a new passion for the subject.”

Sam admits that one of the biggest challenges he faced was going from a very structured school day to combining his studies with work. However, he adds: “Staff at Derby College were really helpful. They guided and supported me all the way. The small group sizes in the second year allowed for really focused sessions and whenever I had a problem lecturers were really good at getting back to me.”

His advice for anyone considering the apprenticeship route to a higher education qualification is: “Just go for it!”

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