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Higher Level Apprenticeships Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week PwC Software With Digital Technology

HLA Student Case Study: Software Engineering with Digital Technology

Maisy Sinclair, Level 6 Higher Level Apprentice, Software Engineering with Digital Technology Partnership, PWC/Queen’s University Belfast

Maisy Sinclair, Level 6 Apprentice

“I was doing a weird mix of A-levels – Art, Spanish, Maths and Software Systems and I had never done any computer-based subjects before that. I really liked Software Systems, it was a challenge, so then I applied for Computer Science at Queen’s. I got an email about this course.

My dad never went to University or anything but he himself did an apprenticeship and he was really encouraging me. It’s really good to have practical experience as well as educational, so I just jumped at the chance and took it on board and I’d definitely say it has lived up to my expectations. 

I like the way it’s structured and I get to go on different placements throughout my whole degree rather than having one full year out.

It’s really good to be able to have that uni experience and being able to apply that to the job environment. From my perspective, I was able to have a full year in uni before I had to go into placement and start applying it to the workplace and I definitely found that I was more equipped to work better in the working environment that if I had had to go in blind with no university education at all.

In terms of then coming back to uni after placement, I’ve definitely been more in tune with the business perspective when I’m studying my modules.

So, I’m not just thinking about studying for an exam, I’m thinking, well how can I apply this work that I’m doing in uni to a business perspective and a job in the future.”

Find out more about Higher Level Apprenticeships at Queen’s.

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Employer Engagement Higher Level Apprenticeships Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week PwC Software With Digital Technology

HLA Employer Case Study: PWC

Joanne Corry, Student Recruitment Manager, PWC

“Our Higher Level Apprenticeship that we have with Queen’s University Belfast is a Software with Digital Technology. We have just recruited our fourth intake for 2021. It is a four-year degree programme, and you are an apprentice from Day One at Queen’s University. 

“For us as a firm, this partnership brings a lot of benefits. We have students that are quite focussed on what they want to do and the career path that they want to take.

They complete placements throughout their time at University with PWC – in first and second year, a 3-month placement from June to August, and then in third and final year they do nine-month placements, split over two placements. 

For us as a firm, it diversifies our workforce. So, we’re getting them straight from A level, they are learning up-to-date academic knowledge in that field and bringing those key skills into our workplace, which really benefits us as a firm.

We’ve had some amazing students in and we have already used some of their proposals of work they have done.

For the student, it is excellent. You are an employee of the firm from Day One. You get all your fees paid, you get a salary from PWC and alongside the salary and the University learning, you also have that support network in the firm as well. 

So, you will be able to be mentored by people that are specialist in the area that you wish to pursue your career in and support your academic learning also. 

We became involves in the HLA partnership because we felt it was necessary for our firm to look at other options and it’s been a real success to date.

It is important for PWC to have an influence on what’s covered within the programmme because that is what we need future employees of the firm to be aware of. Mixing that academic with industry experience gives the student a better overall experience of putting the theory in to practice, so it really important to have industry within that academic piece, to bring it all to life for the students and  see how it works in the real world.

There is a learning experience to come with it. There is a bit more pastoral care needed and a bit of upskilling in professionalism and how to conduct a conversation with clients etc, but what I would say is they take it up really quickly because they’re really engaged and really committed to what they’re doing.

We don’t really see them as apprentices but as graduates within the firm because they are doing the same level of work and they are coming back with that experience each placement.

There is probably a bit of structure needed in place to support them because it is a big learning experience for them, going betweenUniversity and the workplace. We have put a lot of time and effort into that to make sure we do give all the support that’s required.” 

Find out more about Higher Level Apprenticeships at Queen’s

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Deloitte Employer events Employers Events EY Graduate recruitment Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair PwC Skills Virtual recruitment

Four Cool Things happening in Graduate Recruitment Right Now

The graduate job market looks a little different this year, but the era of remote working has paved the way for tech advances in the way companies recruit students. For starters, Queen’s Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair is going digital this year allowing you to browse employers’ virtual stalls, watch company videos and find out what it might be like to work at a particular company – all from your laptop. Here, some recruiting companies who have flexed the way they recruit to meet the challenges of virtual recruiting.

1.Employer-led online skills sessions

Accessing training with experts from top companies is just a click of a button away. Take Deloitte who are running skills sessions online throughout Autumn. Available to watch live or on demand, topics covered include building confidence, research and communication – all skills that will stand you in good stead in the future.

Get more information and register via our events page

2.Immersive company experiences

The digital world allows you to get under the skin of a company and get a feel for what it’s really like to work there. Take EY – they are running a Build Your EY Experience Week from 5-9 October. With a live welcome address from their partners, the week promises insight into the people, clients and culture that make the company unique.

Get more information and register via our events page

3.Virtual recruitment ‘parks’

Imagine creating a virtual avatar that can virtually walk around a company, meet the people who work there and take part in events. Sounds like the stuff of a sci-fi movie but PwC’s Virtual Park allows you to do just that.

Discover more information and register.

4.Live chats with employers 

There are more opportunities than ever to live chat potential bosses. At Queen’s Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair, employers can filter candidates by their student profiles and invite candidates with the skills they are looking for into a live chat or video call. Make sure you stand out by completing your online profile in as much detail as possible.

Register now via Graduateland.