How I got in: Nathalie’s degree apprenticeship at Dyson
Leaving school and becoming an engineer
Nathalie is a degree apprenticeship graduate currently working at Dyson where she is now an engineer. But how did she go from not being sure what to do, to becoming an engineer at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology?
What was your journey to Dyson like?
At school, I struggled to decide on a career path. I knew that I loved science, being creative, and problem-solving so I decided to do some work experience. I really enjoyed the hands-on element of engineering and prototyping, so I started a prototyping apprenticeship with Dyson. Then when it came to exploring university degrees, the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology launched its degree apprenticeship. I decided to apply and I think it was the best decision for me.
Did you face any challenges when applying?
Taking a different route from most of my peers was quite challenging as not many people go down the apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship route. However, I think apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships are really valuable. By learning on the job and gaining work experience, you can fast-track your skills and knowledge development. I found it helpful that I could see what my career trajectory could look like over the next 3 or 4 years, which isn’t always the case with a university degree.
What was the apprenticeship application process like?
The apprenticeship application process is different to UCAS in that you are applying for a job. As part of this process, you might be expected to complete psychometric tests that assess your verbal, numerical, and situational-judgement skills. Then you go through an interview process. As we don’t usually get interview preparation support at school, I found it helpful to use the website to understand what the company does, what the culture is like, and if I see myself there. At the interview, this commercial awareness really helped me demonstrate my interest in the company and my suitability for the role.
What helped with planning your next steps?
Someone once told me to think about whether I wanted to be more of a generalist where you do a bit of everything, or if I wanted to become a specialist. Thinking about my career development goals in this way helped me narrow down all of my interests and make a decision. Doing work experience also helped me see what different engineers do, so that was really helpful.
Has anything surprised you about this apprenticeship?
I always felt I was more mechanically inclined. However, after working in different teams, I discovered that I was quite interested in electrical engineering. So based on this I went down an electro-mechanical route. I don’t think I would have been able to go down that path had I gone straight to university from sixth form.
Do you have any advice for students thinking of applying?
My advice to students thinking of applying for an apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship would be to gain some work experience. Also, try to remain curious and open-minded so you can explore all of your options and consider things you might not have done before.
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The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology degree apprenticeship
More information about the degree apprenticeship offered by Dyson.
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