We asked degree apprentice James Jones how he feels about his achievement.
James Jones, aged 25, from Bridgnorth, Shropshire has also just graduated with a Degree in Digital and Tech Solutions on completing his apprenticeship.
It feels pretty good and a bit strange because nobody has done it before – Graduation Day was a great day, with the gowns and that. We’d met all of the teachers face-to-face and gone to the university for some group work components so I felt like I belonged. It was probably more strange for those students who hadn’t seen us before.
What do your family and friends think about the route that you’ve taken?
I stayed at school after my GCSEs and I studied A-levels. We weren’t really told what other options there were and I knew I wanted a degree.
Originally I went to university full time to study physics but by Christmas I wasn’t enjoying it. I was worried about debt building up and about job prospects, so I left and looked for a job in IT, which was a hobby of mine. My parents were a bit surprised when I left university but I used to work part time in a hardware repair shop when I was in sixth form and I went back to this.
I was still looking and I found the Capgemini apprenticeship, now I have BSc (Hons) in Digital and Tech Solutions. It took me about five and a half years in total to complete because I originally started on a higher apprenticeship and then transferred to the degree apprenticeship.
I did an initial boot camp programme where I learned all the basics of software development and then I moved onto the apprenticeship and started the degree at Aston University.”
What are your future career plans?
I’m full time now with Capgemini. I graduated and then it was back to business as usual, working on client side designing and developing software. I work with employees from the client’s side but first thing I grab a coffee with the team; we go through a daily stand up where we talk about what we did the day before and what we have planned for the day, then I get to work programming.
The way we work is that we sit with the users, discuss their needs, then the team turns this into requirements and we draw up sketches of what the software might look like and how it might function and then move on to components.
Yes, start thinking about options and ask what they are if you don’t know – if I’d known about this programme I probably would have chosen it straight away. I’ve been earning a salary while my friends have been building up debts and I’ve been able to buy a flat.
You can’t go out clubbing every night and wake up a midday – got to go to work you know – but there are still plenty of opportunities to celebrate with colleagues, especially when a project is finished.”