Former business student Zainab Alam is part of the UK’s first social change degree apprenticeship programme and combines studying at London’s Queen Mary University with working for international charity WaterAid.
Zainab, aged 20, who completed the two-year Level 3 extended diploma in business in June 2019, said: “After my GCSEs I did a year of A Levels in sixth form but it wasn’t the right thing for me. I realised I wanted to study business and go on to do a degree, and college enabled me to focus on what I’m interested in, rather than having to study multiple subjects.
“Throughout the course I built a strong relationship with my tutors and they were always available to give feedback on my work or explain anything I didn’t understand and I wouldn’t have achieved such high grades without their teaching and support. They also supported me with my UCAS application and gave advice on job applications and interview techniques too.
“I chose the social change degree apprenticeship as it has enabled me to study business management as well as work for a charity. I’ve always done voluntary work but being able to work in the head office of a large international charity really fulfils my career aspirations and when I was offered a place on the programme I was really surprised as there were 500 applications for just 13 places.
“The degree programme is four years and covers all the modules that a business management student studies, but, in addition, from year two onwards, I will also have work-related modules which will be done through WaterAid.
“When I’ve completed my degree I hope to stay at WaterAid and work abroad for one of their country programmes which is something I’ve always wanted to do.
“A Levels might be right for some people, but there are many other options and paths available – such as BTECs, apprenticeships or other college courses, – that may be more suitable, you just have to look for them.”
Read more about Zainab’s placement at WaterAid here