NAW Success 2022- Tegan Tahmai Coleman

We asked winners and highly commended of our National Tech Industry Gold Digital Degree Apprenticeship Awards 2022 to share their stories. Read Tegan’s below and discover her passions about her journey, as well as tips for future degree apprentices.

Current role: Digital HR Apprentice

Company: Bentley Motors Limited

Degree Apprenticeship: Digital and Technical Solutions: IT Consultancy

Awards Category: Special Recognition- Highly Commended


What made you choose a degree apprenticeship?

Growing up in Crewe, I watched the Bentley site evolve and heard about its reputation, so I knew it’s somewhere I wanted to work. I was always unsure of whether University would be the right decision for me as I struggled a bit in school and college, (I later found out that was due to my MH condition and SLD.) My grandad told me about apprenticeships and my uncle worked at Bentley and mentioned that Bentley had an apprenticeship open day, so me and my grandad attended and looked at the different apprenticeship opportunities. When I spoke to my now manager about the Digital HR apprenticeship, I realised that even though I never considered this as a pathway or career before, it really interested me, and I felt like I got on really well with my manager from that initial conversation.

I had quite a difficult decision to make on whether I wanted to carry on working at another company and hope progression would come my way or start the apprenticeship at Bentley and go to university alongside this. I decided to move to Bentley and start the apprenticeship.

The reason I went for the degree apprenticeship is because I wanted to work for a company I could be proud of and heard such great things about and I could gather work experience alongside doing a degree and come out the other side without the debt.

What benefits have you seen as a result of choosing a degree apprenticeship?

I didn’t realise the value of having work experience alongside a degree especially as I’m only 22, with nearly 4 years’ experience and coming up to finishing my course. Everyone really respects and values my input and ideas and having so much experience alongside my degree, I can already see the potential progression pathways that I can take here at Bentley.

What did winning the award mean to you?

Receiving this award was truly a shock to me, I didn’t believe I was doing anything out of the ordinary. I was only trying to survive and help others who may be suffering, as I know how much it can damage a person to believe that they are alone. When I realised that I had received the highly commended, I felt seen and appreciated (I know it’s kind of sad). I didn’t want recognition, I only wanted to help, but I think for me this is what makes this award mean so much, I wasn’t expecting it, or any sort of recognition.

How has winning the award helped in the workplace?

So far, I have been acknowledged by more Colleagues, however, I have just kept doing what I can to support others and my own wellbeing.

What recommendations would you give to those considering a tech/IT/digital career?

If it’s something that you’re interested in, go for it. It honestly doesn’t matter how old you are, because whether you go for an apprenticeship or continue where you are or go to university, you will still be the same age at the end of it. You also need faith in yourself and your abilities, I know that it can seem daunting, and it is a lot of work, but if it’s something you want to do it’s well worth it.

What guidance would you give to those thinking about a degree apprenticeship?

I know it’s a cliché but just be prepared that there are times when you will have to give up your weekends and evenings, especially closer to the end of the apprenticeship. I would plan when your assignments are in advance and that way you can visually see when your busy periods are as well as when you have less assignments. Most of all, make your mental wellbeing a priority. If you need to spend a week or two not thinking about assignments or deadlines, do that, put it to one side and pick it back up when you’re feeling better. There is also nothing wrong or to be ashamed of for getting an extension if you need to focus on your wellbeing.

Do you have any other insights you’d like to share?

You need to do what makes you happy, and follow your aspirations, even if it seems initially like a step back, it may help you get 5 steps forward at the end of it. Life is too short to worry about not being qualified or ready for a role/apprenticeship, so apply, see what happens. It may put you in a place you never thought it could at the end of it.