Q&A with apprentice – Omar Choudhury

Apprenticeships can be an attractive route into the world of work, offering the opportunity to get experience, training and qualifications all at the same time. North East Times spoke to Omar Choudhury to get his perspective and see how he’s settling into his EY Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship

Tell us about yourself..

I’m Omar, 19, and a first-year apprentice currently studying on the EY Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship, based in Newcastle. The programme involves one-day a week studying at university for a BA Honours in Business Leadership and Management, in association with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), and four-days working with EY’s Advisory team. Outside of work I practice martial arts and have a black belt in taekwondo. I also represent the university in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

What first attracted you to the apprenticeship programme at EY?

In the summer, after my first year of A-Levels, I took part in some work experience programmes at large financial institutes, including EY Foundation’s Smart Futures. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at EY and found out about the Degree Apprenticeship it offered, which combined the benefits of an apprenticeship alongside the chance to attain a degree, whilst being paid a salary.

How do you balance your assignments with day to day responsibilities in the office?

We are allocated study days to do our assignments, so with good time management there isn’t too much stress between completing university and office work to a high standard.

What support and training does EY provide you with?

There is access to a great amount of support including: work buddies, employee networks and wellbeing seminars. We also complete online and work-based learning activities to help us develop new skills. Everyone is extremely supportive of each other and I feel I can talk to others about any challenges I am facing, confidentiality.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting an apprenticeship?

I would suggest they network with as many people as possible, who can help support them through their early career and also open-up new opportunities. I would also encourage them to take part in as many of these opportunities as possible, which can help improve their confidence, personal brand and develop their strengths and skills.

And finally, what employability skills do you think the apprenticeship will equip you with?

As well as working towards a degree and a professional qualification, with a salary, the degree apprenticeship has hugely increased my confidence and communication skills. For example, during the programme I have presented to range of people, including senior leaders, which has helped to develop me into a more confident and articulate speaker.

It has also improved my networking skills, which contributed to me being selected to take part in the Government’s apprenticeship campaign ‘Fire It Up’. As part of the campaign I met the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills to discuss how we can better promote the value of apprenticeships, which was featured on Channel 5 News.