25 April 2022

Engineering a bright future

1st year degree apprentice, Tash discusses her experiences and career choices so far

Since joining Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group in September 2021 after leaving The Cotswold School last summer, degree apprentice Tash Tustin has hit the ground running as a trainee Consultant and in her first year is already a keen advocate of the apprenticeship route to employment.

Securing an apprenticeship with an international project management and engineering company with opportunities to work on major engineering projects including HS2, Tash is maximising every opportunity to develop her career and is already getting involved with managing her own projects.  

Reflecting on the study options and career choices in front of her last year whilst completing her “A” levels, she says, “When I was in year 13 I was applying for both apprenticeships and university. I knew that I wanted to become a business consultant as business was my passion and I wanted to go into a fast-paced environment” adding, “for me doing an apprenticeship was a no brainer, it was the opportunity to get formal education in the form of a degree and being able to work alongside that. I wanted to be able to put what I am learning into practice in my everyday job”.

Fast forward one year and already alongside her core role of managing project finances to ensure projects adhere to budgets and margins, six months into her first year of apprenticeship, one of her proudest achievements has been her involvement with the Apprentice Challenge.” I would say my biggest achievement so far has been completing the apprentice challenge. It was the first project that I ran as project manager and that I was responsible for. I had never project managed anything before so I had to completely learn the role of a project manager from scratch. I am so proud that we were able to deliver without too many bumps in the road. The aim (of the challenge) is to allow apprentices to run their own projects and gain experience in that area, which involves me delegating tasks among the team and tracking progress, to ensure that we meet our deadlines”.

Inspiring the upcoming next generation who are still in education is something Tash cares deeply about, evidenced by the fact that she has already been invited back to her old school and others to attend careers fair and give careers talks. “I am an advocate for the recruitment of apprentices. For national apprenticeship week I did an Instagram takeover to give further insight into a day in the life of a project management degree apprentice”

When discussing the process of applying for an apprenticeship she says, “One of the main websites I used when looking for apprenticeships was the UCAS website, I just filtered for degree apprenticeships and came across the apprenticeship at Atkins.” When comparing applying for university and apprenticeships, she adds, “So far I have been really enjoying my apprenticeship and I am glad I chose this option over university. I would say if you are thinking about doing an apprenticeship I would say go for it. There are so many different apprenticeship routes out there”

As she passes the half way point of her first year as a degree apprentice, what has been the highlight of being an apprentice so far? In answer to that question, she says, “One of my favourite things about my apprenticeship is that I get to meet new people every day and expand my network”

Looking to the future beyond her apprenticeship, Tash already has plans, “I would like to become a change consultant as I enjoy engaging with stakeholders and assisting them to overcome challenges they may face. It involves a lot of psychology and engaging with different people which I think I would enjoy”.

Supporting the development of quality Careers education programmes in Gloucestershire secondary schools and colleges is the core mission of the GFirst Careers Hub hosted by GFirst LEP and funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company. Speaking for the Careers Hub, Duncan Willoughby, Enterprise Coordinator, says: “Tash is an excellent advocate of degree apprenticeships and when we met her at a local careers fair recently she was busily engaged talking to other young people about her career experiences, and explaining the choices she has made so far. Her determination to share her story and help influence others illustrates just how important meeting others who have chosen that route is in helping young people to make informed choices and progress into the world of work.  Our local remit as a Careers Hub, working in conjunction with the Careers and Enterprise Company and a range of partner organisations working in employability and skills is to ensure that young people in the county are aware of and have access to high quality careers education experiences to learn more about the world of work”

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