Qualified engineers, Dave Connor and Jason Kwok, are providing great encouragement to A-Level students considering a degree apprenticeship route as an alternative to full time study at university. The duo, who were the first graduates of building services engineering company, Ameon’s innovative degree apprenticeship programme, in 2011, have both been appointed to the board at the age of 38, and in doing so, are inspiring others to follow their lead.
Since the Ameon degree apprenticeship programme’s creation, 22 employees have taken advantage of this alternative route to the BEng degree, which ensures students a salary whilst studying. Amongst their number is one of only a handful of female Revit design technicians in the UK – who is also now studying for her master’s degree, with the support of the company.
Quite apart from the obvious benefits of gaining a degree without accumulated student debt, Ameon’s programme allows students to gain work experience and business knowledge – so that when they do graduate, they are already a valued part of the management structure and an asset to the business.
It’s a study model gaining traction among careers advisors of leading schools and colleges, among them Fylde Coast independent school, AKS, which has encouraged a number of its sixth form cohort to visit Ameon to learn about options. And one of the group has already been inspired sufficiently enough to gain a place on the programme for September 2024.
According to managing director, Robin Lawson, the fact that prestigious schools with high achieving students are now willing to consider the degree apprenticeship programme, as the alternative route to full time university attendance, is testament to the programme’s considerable benefits, and the number of graduates now enjoying rewarding careers.
Robin comments: “Jason and Dave’s stories should inspire many others to follow in their footsteps, because all who graduate through the programme are much more valuable as employees at the time of graduation. In truth, they are streets ahead of their contemporaries, who might apply for positions having gained degrees whilst away at university. Of course, their degrees are the same, but a full time student graduate would require a considerable investment in training on our part, whereas degree apprenticeship graduates have undergone significant training – and been immersed the company’s culture – in tandem with their studies. As a consequence, they are able to make a significant contribution to our business, without the requirement for additional training.
“To be frank, I do not understand why more businesses don’t recruit this way and why more students and their parents don’t recognise the efficacy of this route to a degree. Perhaps there is a misconception that this pathway is somehow inferior, yet the success of Jason, Dave and others within Ameon helps bely the myth.”
Pictured are Robin (centre), flanked by Jason (left) and Dave.