Ed Rhodes of Centauri Therapeutics tells the University of Kent how his apprenticeship links into the practical work he does
What’s your name and role at Centauri Therapeutics?
My name is Ed, I’m a level 5 apprentice at Centauri Therapeutics and I work in the microbiology department.
Can you tell us a little about your apprenticeship?
I’m doing the level 5 biosciences, studying a range of things, currently human physiology and disease and then also doing the work-based learning. Mostly, I do microbiology but I also do a range of things at the company.
What have your experienced so far?
It’s been really good. I’ve been with the company for just over three years so I started in 2015. When I started, I was in molecular biology and now I’ve moved onto microbiology, which is what I predominately do.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship over anything else?
So I had just done my A-levels and left school and had applied to university. I had a friend who had just started an apprenticeship and I was really interested in the work-based learning. I did okay in my A-levels but wanted to do something a bit more hands-on, so it’s really worked well.
What do you like most about your apprenticeship?
The work-based learning and new techniques. The studying is really good as well. I find being able to do it in my own time and link it back to work has benefited me really well.
How do you feel about the balance between your work and your study?
It’s really good. I spend one day a week here studying, which is usually a Friday and works well. Everyone leaves me here to study and if I have any questions about assignments and things, I can ask. The University of Kent is also really good as I can go and ask them about anything.
How has studying helped with your day-to-day role?
Massively. I did a level 3 apprenticeship originally, which was really the basics. I’d also studied at A-level, so I wanted to do the higher stuff and starting the degree has really helped me as there are so many subjects I do here. It was quite hard to grasp what some of the other scientists are talking about, but now, when doing modules, they link in really well. The study has especially helped with the ‘In the Workplace’ assignments. They are really good as you can go back and make it relevant from what you’ve just learnt.
What has surprised you most as an apprentice?
How much I can achieve academically from hands-on learning. I’ve achieved mostly distinctions over the last two years and now I’m hoping to get them again this year. That’s something I like doing—being able to achieve a degree this way has been really good.
What would be your advice to others considering an apprenticeship?
Just go out there and look at the different things, find out about apprenticeships and apply for them. I wasn’t really sure about going away and spending lots of money, I just wanted to get into work and learn new things, so just get out and look.
What do you hope to do once you have completed the apprenticeship?
I definitely want to stay on at Centauri full-time, I’d like to do a master’s degree then possibly a PhD. I’ve heard they might be offered as an apprenticeship, which would be great.