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Nathan is studying Foundation Degree in Computing at our Mid Devon campus.
Name: Nathan WilsonCourse: FdSc ComputingYear: 1Campus: Mid DevonPreviously: Level 2 and Level 3 Information TechnologyPrevious School: Tiverton High School
"I left high school with only four-and-a-half GCSES, so I couldn’t get onto the level 3 course. I was put onto the Level 2 and I also studied GCSE English here. Doing the Level 2, I got a distinction star, so I progressed onto the Level 3. I didn’t have a huge idea of what I wanted to do after school, but I know I enjoyed IT. It was the main thing at school I enjoyed.
"I did not actually know it would take me to a degree. I’m doing quite well. It’s the same as what I have been doing before, but I have got student finance. I’m thinking of staying on to go to Plymouth. I think it’s quite a good balance - it prevents living costs by staying at home.
"You can still achieve great things If you didn’t do well at school."
Dom is studying Foundation Degree in Computing at our Mid Devon campus.
Name: Dom LaskeyCourse: FdSc ComputingYear: 2Campus: Mid DevonPreviously: Level 3 Information TechnologyPrevious School: Tiverton High School
"I did BTEC Level 3 in IT at Petroc, for two years. I got a distinction overall. Then I was going to go to uni elsewhere, but I changed my mind. So I did a Foundation Degree here as I was told it was a really good course. It’s going really well. I hope to get a first – I’m working towards that. I’m going to Plymouth next year for the third year. It’s a good time to move away from home and experience uni life.
"If you're unsure about the course, I would say do it. If you’re not comfortable with moving away, it’s a great chance. You have the third year in Plymouth, so you get the experience of living the university life."
Andy is studying Foundation Degree in Computing at our Mid Devon campus.
Name: Andy HowardCourse: FdSc ComputingYear: 2Campus: Mid DevonPreviously: Access to HE Diploma in SciencePrevious School: Chulmleigh Community College
"I came here in 2008 and did Uniformed Public Services – then lots of job cuts happened. I worked for about 5 years and then that’s when I decided I want to go and study computing as that’s the kind of thing I like to do. I decided to go on the Access course at Petroc. It helped a lot, especially as I got my A-level Maths.
"The degree class is small so it’s easier to learn. I’m hoping to go to Plymouth for the third year – I’ve got a house with all the guys on the course. I was thinking of going into teaching or web development after. One of the modules is a PGCE, so that would be ideal. I’ll take it as it comes – see what third year’s like!
"If you’re thinking of doing the degree, come and talk to the people on the course. Find out what it’s all about and get an idea of everything. You don’t have to have a lot of knowledge beforehand - you get to do it in the first year."
Chloe is on the BTEC Level 2 Technical in Business Administration
BTEC Level 2 Technical in Business Administration
North Devon Campus
“Last year I was on a Level 1 business course at Petroc, and then progressed onto this course, which is new. I really enjoyed my first year, so was pleased to be able to continue in business this year.
This course teaches you how to communicate in a work situation, as well as about office policies and ICT.
As part of the course, I am carrying out a work placement with North Devon Homes, in their Income Team. I am responsible for sorting the mail and distributing it, plus other office tasks.
This is the first time I’ve ever done work experience, so I was a bit nervous to start with. However, everyone I work with is really friendly and always offers to help me if I am stuck with anything.
The work placement has really improved my confidence when talking to people and has increased my independence.”
Chris is on the BTEC Level 2 Technical in Business Administration
BTEC Level 2 Technical in Business Administration
“As part of this course I am completing work experience with Babcock International. I am working as an office assistant and carry out tasks such as filing and photocopying.
This course is great, as it teaches you the correct way to behave in the workplace and gives you the basic skills needed in a wide variety of work environments.
My colleagues and supervisors are very informative and are always very happy to help me learn and improve.
I am hoping to secure full time employment with Babcock International once I complete my course. I would love to travel in the future and, being a global company, Babcock offers these opportunities.”
Chris’s employer said:
“Chris has started his work experience with enthusiasm and effort. He is very polite and well presented. He works hard and effectively. He has worked on various different subjects and departments.”
Jo is working with Applegate on a Degree Apprenticeship in Management and Leadership
Degree Apprenticeship in Management and LeadershipEmployer: ApplegatePreviously: Level 3 Extended Diploma in BusinessFormer school: Great Torrington Community College
I can’t wait to make my 2017 more eventful, by doing exactly what I want to do at the weekend and making great memories with my friends.
It’s all possible after I accepted the fantastic degree apprenticeship opportunity with Applegate. Not only am I saving money while still studying for a Business Management degree, but I am getting fed and watered every morning too, as Applegate puts on breakfast for its employees.
This time last year I had no clue what I wanted to do. I considered travelling and going to university but I really only wanted to experience the lifestyle. I accepted this opportunity at Applegate because it gave me the best of both worlds. I am still at university and I also get six weeks to travel in the summer if I want to.
I may make some dodgy decisions at the weekend but this is one decision I definitely don’t regret. I’ve experience tradeshows and having everything paid for, and I’ve got the ability to save up to £10,000 for a house which the company will match. There are many educational benefits of this Apprenticeship too, but really I enjoy it because I spend my working day with people who are on the same level of banter as me – and I’m in control of the radio!
I’ve received employee of the month, I always get recognised for the work I do and I am supported with my university work by any employee that can be of some help.
I am currently studying my Business Management degree and am an Apprentice at Applegate Marketplace. If you feel like this opportunity could suit you, Applegate are taking on 10 more degree apprentices in September. It’s a five-year commitment, but the benefits are endless.
See you at the festivals!
Caitlin is studying 90-credit Diploma in Business Level 3 at our North Devon campus.
Name: Caitlin KnoxCourse: 90-Credit Diploma in Business Level 3 Campus: North DevonPrevious school: Great Torrington Community College
"I chose this course because I wanted something that was going to be something different than school. I didn’t like exams. It was also general, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
"We have done a really wide range of subjects this year. We have done retail and accounting, and I did the enterprise challenge.
"After the course, I was going to do a degree apprenticeship – mainly because I don’t want to move away.
"If you're thinking of studying this course, I would say go for it! It's good if you think A-levels aren’t for you and you want a change, and something different for college."
Dan is studying 90-Credit Diploma in Business Level 3 at our North Devon campus.
Name: Dan HeardCourse: 90-Credit Diploma in Business Level 3 Campus: North DevonPrevious school: Holsworthy Community College
"I chose the course because of the coursework side of it. If you don’t feel like exams are right for you, the coursework allows you to show just as much but it takes the pressure off in the exam season. You know that you can chart your progress throughout the year. It’s a broad subject and allows you to go in many directions.
"Petroc has the academies like the Applegate Academy, which I did. It was a good experience that gave me something to put in my CV. If you ever need help, the lecturers are always there.
"After the course I’m thinking of going to uni or doing a degree apprenticeship. I like the the fact you do not have the debt with a degree apprenticeship.
"Being at college gives you a bit more flexibility compared to school. You can manage your time a little bit better and you get treated more like an adult. Petroc is a nice community. It’s your responsibility to do well or not do well. It’s up to you to get the grades."
Jack is studying Business with Enterprise BTEC First Extended Certificate at our North Devon campus.
Name: Jack IrelandCourse: Business with Enterprise BTEC First Extended Certificate Campus: North DevonPrevious school: Braunton Community College
"I chose Business because I was not sure what I wanted to do in the future. I thought it was a course that leads to lots of different options in the working world. All the people who I work with are really nice as well.
"Afterwards, I’m probably going to do an apprenticeship, hopefully in local authority and social work.
"Overall it’s nice people, nice college and nice teachers. It leads to lots of options and it opens up a lot of areas for you for the future."
Toni is studying BTEC Introductory Diploma in Business Level 1 at our North Devon campus.
Name: Toni HillCourse: BTEC Introductory Diploma in Business Level 1Campus: North DevonPrevious school: Uxbridge College“The course is really good. I like the progression; if you feel like the work is too easy they will give you more and make it match up to your level.
My highlights have been an animation assignment, and we have had the enterprise challenge which my team won. We created a mindfulness app. You could tell your thoughts to anonymous chat rooms and leave all your stresses there. There’s help for anxiety as well. The idea is you get it when you joined the college.
“I chose the course because it was just what I felt like I needed to do to progress in the path I wanted. I wanted to become a social enterpriser. Now I’m going to go into health and social care, but the course has given me a chance to realise what I wanted to do. It will help me, having a business background behind me.
“If you study this course, you are always going to have that business background. It comes into everything. It gives you a chance to look at all the different careers, as you are researching different jobs in class. It gives you a good look at different careers.”
Ryan is studying Diploma in Business & Administration Level 2 – Route to Employment at our North Devon campus.
Name: Ryan PooleCourse: Diploma in Business & Administration Level 2 – Route to EmploymentCampus: North DevonEmployer: NorthwoodPrevious School: Park School
“I didn’t leave school with the best qualifications. I went through a stage where I didn’t know what I wanted to do. This is the first course I have stuck with. It’s the people and the lecturers who make it enjoyable.
“I do work experience on Wednesday and Thursday with Northwood. At the moment we are doing logbooks and case studies. I do a bit of everything, but I like the viewings the best and getting out and about.
“I would recommend this course because it gives you work experience and you go out and do what you think you would ideally like to do in the future. I wanted to be an estate agent. Work experience gives you more of an idea.”
Montana is studying Diploma in Business & Administration Level 2 - Route To Employment at our Mid Devon Campus.
Name: Montana Wright-SharpCourse: Diploma in Business & Administration Level 2 - Route To EmploymentCampus: North Devon
"I did my GCSEs in 2014 and I didn’t go to college until the beginning of this year. I was doing hairdressing Level 2 course at Petroc but I was ill. Becca (Miller – Business Lecturer) took me on and I started in January.
"I like the course. It’s helped me discover the chosen career path I want to do and it’s interesting. I want to go into criminology and law; I want to work in the justice system, and help people.
"Becca managed to get me work experience in a solicitors – I love it. They are giving me a paid summer job. I’m learning about wills, probates, deeds and closed files.
"I also do my English here and I’m on track to get a C. They give you more support with your GCSE and you get more 1:1 time.
"I like the knowledge side of our work experience. I would recommend it the course. It’s a good opportunity and it will help you discover what you want to do in later life."
Olly Spear is studying a Foundation Degree in Computing as part of a IT & Telecoms Higher Apprenticeship.
Why did you choose to come to Petroc?
When I finished my GCSEs I knew I wanted to do IT. West Buckland did offer an A Level in IT but it didn't run because there wasn’t enough interest.
I then decided to attend one of the Petroc Open Events and learnt more about the BTEC in Information Technology. I have never been particularly academic, so the fact that there were no exams made it very appealing.
…And what made you pick this particular study programme/course?
After completing the BTEC I was keen to study at HE level, but Tim Barker – my course tutor – informed me about the potential opportunity of a Higher Apprenticeship with Travis Perkins. After meeting with them and taking a competency test I was taken on. I currently work for four days and have one day at college. Having the opportunity to work while gaining a Foundation Degree in Computing is a win-win situation.
Which elements of your study programme/course do you particularly enjoy?
I love doing Java and it's definitely my favourite subject. The way the course is set up - learning three subjects each year – means that you can really develop a solid understand of a topic; I've learnt about so many things that I wouldn’t have known even existed!
What have been the highlights so far (trips, visits, projects etc.)?
Since being on the course my knowledge of programming has shot through the roof. The fact that I am paired with another programmer while at Travis Perkins really helps me develop my skills. My day at college helps me with the theory side of the work I do during the rest of the week, so it’s a great way of learning.
What do you most enjoy about studying at Petroc?
I can’t say what I enjoy the most as I haven't yet completed the course, but currently it has definitely been learning about Java and computer systems.
What do you most plan to do when you leave college?
It all depends on what Travis Perkins say. I would love to go down to Plymouth and gain a full degree, but for the minute I am completely open.
What's the long term plan (further study, career etc.)?
I definitely want to become a computer programmer, and I feel studying an apprenticeship through Petroc is the best method of me doing so.
Any advice for someone thinking of choosing the same course as you?
If you know it's something that you want to, don’t waste any time and definitely do it!
Lucy is in her second year of the Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Business.
Lucy is in her second year of the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business at our Mid Devon Campus.
She previously went to Cullompton Community College.
Lucy started an A-level course at Exeter college but soon realised that she wanted to study a more project-based business course. She found that Petroc Mid Devon offered a Level 3 Business course and, as she could drive here each day instead of using public transport, she decided to switch.
Currently in her 2nd year, Lucy really enjoys the practical elements of the course and the creative projects she works on – the BTEC suits her better as she finds she enjoys course work more than essay-writing.
“Petroc offers more of a community feel than my previous college and I feel like the staff here are all family members, helping me to succeed. The flexibility of timetables here means I can work part-time too," she said.
Lucy plans to achieve a law degree and hopes to practise family law.
“Self-belief is really important – at Petroc, I quickly realised I was on the right course, as my grades improved dramatically”.
Chloe is on a traineeship programme and works at North Devon Homes in their customer care team.
Employer: North Devon Homes
“I initially started at college on a travel and tourism course but, although I got good grades, I realised I didn’t want to go into that industry. However, I did really enjoy the business aspects of the course, so instead started thinking about what I could study in that area.
A friend of mine recommended a traineeship; a ‘dedicated programme for 16-24 year olds, which focusses on helping people find employment and gain the necessary skills through a substantial work placement.’
On the traineeship I work at North Devon Homes four days a week, as part of their customer care team, and will be here for eight weeks in total. In this role I’m developing a wide range of skills; I carry out general admin tasks, including processing customer feedback sheets and logging the incoming post. I’m learning the importance of team work and always offer to help others when I can. I really enjoy being in an office environment and am interested to learn more about the different job roles within the business.
The position I filled was initially advertised as an apprenticeship, but following advice from the college the company decided to go down a traineeship route instead. So, depending on my performance, I’m hoping to role straight onto an apprenticeship with North Devon Homes after I finish my traineeship. The feedback from my employer has been really positive so far, so I’m hopeful this will be the case.
A traineeship is a great option for an employer, as it gives both them and the student the opportunity to see if they are suited to the job before committing to a more long-term arrangement. That way, the employer can rest assured that they have employed someone who is competent and committed to the job.
I can see myself staying at North Devon Homes for a long time, as there are so many opportunities to progress within the business. I hope that I’ll also get the chance to do more training in the future.”
Update: Chloe has since been offered an apprenticeship at North Devon Homes, starting 7 March 2016.
What does Chloe’s manager say…?
Allison Bird is the Customer Services Manager at North Devon Homes and overseas Chloe’s traineeship placement.
“A traineeship gives someone who is looking for employment the chance to learn about an area that they might not necessarily have considered otherwise. Housing is a sector that people don’t always consider but, in fact, once they get here they realise how rewarding it can be.
The skills that students learn here are very portable and can be applied to a variety of different sectors. From an employer’s perspective, it’s nice to know you’ve given someone skills that will stay with them forever.
We’re always very keen to support both traineeships and apprenticeships, as we understand how important it is to give someone hands-on experience. I particularly like the fact that the Petroc assessors come out to the workplace and see the students in a working environment, so they get a really good understanding of how they are applying what they’ve learnt at college to their job.
Also, having the assessment onsite helps us build solid relationships with the college. We are now at a stage where we can go to Petroc and say ‘right, we have this vacancy to fill – what are our options?’. That’s actually how we discovered traineeships. I hadn’t heard of them until I spoke to someone at the college, but now I would definitely recommend them to other employers.”
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