Class of 2020
Congratulations to James Grainger for joining our Tech Industry Gold Class of 2020! James completed a Tech Industry Gold digital degree apprenticeship, studying at Manchester Metropolitan University and working at Lloyds Banking Group. Find out more about James’ experience.
Name: James Grainger
University: Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
Degree Apprenticeship Title: BSc Digital & Technology Solutions Degree (Data Analyst)
Classification: 1st Class Honours
Title of Dissertation: Analysing Team Performance and Efficiency within the Group Data Warehouse
Employer: Lloyds Banking Group
Job Title: Data Engineer
Firstly – how are you and how have you been managing during the lockdown?
I am fine! I have adapted to life working from home and this has now become the norm. There were times where I felt like I was in a constant cycle of eating, sleeping and working but my colleagues have been really supportive and recently I took some time off to get away from my desk and enjoy the outdoors. Something we have had little of during lockdown.
What was the best experience of your Tech Industry Gold accredited degree apprenticeship?
My best experience was travelling out to India on business to support offshore colleagues on a large regulatory project that I was working on. I was out there for two weeks and had a once in a lifetime experience of meeting people from all different cultures and got the chance to really appreciate how colourful and amazing India is. Shifting my working pattern and working in extremely hot temperatures was not easy but every moment felt surreal and not something a lot of apprentices get the opportunity to do!
What was the most challenging experience of your Tech Industry Gold accredited degree apprenticeship?
For me, being someone who came straight from school I think the most challenging aspect of the apprenticeship was balancing the work and study life. Trying to work full time as a data engineer whilst studying for a degree meant I had to be really disciplined when it came to time management. Constantly having to reprioritise work and deal with conflicting interests was something I was not familiar with at the start. However, that said, these four years have realty given me the ability to develop such skills and has got easier and easier to deal with as I have progressed through the scheme.
What would you say now, to yourself, before you enrolled on your degree apprenticeship?
Go for it, if you want to get hands-on with a real-world job yet also ascertain a degree this is the best opportunity out there. For me, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will always be thankful for.
What would you say to anyone considering a Tech Industry Gold accredited degree apprenticeship?
The one thing I say to anyone who asks me what is the best thing about the degree apprenticeship is that age does not play a factor. Most people these days think apprentice and assume someone who is young. That might be the case for me, but I have fellow apprentices who are 30+ years of age and used to be branch managers but wanted to do the degree before they saw it more of a future step up in their development as they would work alongside gaining a fully paid degree.
What are your career plans?
For now, continuing to pursue my aspirations as a data engineer looking into the world of machine learning, data science and automation. I am also continuing my studies on the MSc degree scheme so that I can keep the momentum going alongside my ever-growing responsibilities at work.
Who inspires you?
I have many inspirations in this world, but one of the main ones is Sir Alan Sugar; a man who built an empire from nothing and brought together some amazing people and entrepreneurs. His mindset and mentality of turning negativity into positivity have got him to where he is today!
Anything else to add?
People need to realise how beneficial the Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeships are for organisations and individuals!