Enrolling as a Graduate Apprentice (GA) at Robert Gordon University (RGU) provided the perfect opportunity for Tom Fensome (24) to continue his education while working as a member of the Applications Solution team at Aberdeenshire Council.
Tom was one of the first cohort of students to sign up for RGU’s pioneering GA programme. One year into the four-year course Tom, who is studying for a BSc (Hons) Software Development for Business, describes it as “a once in a lifetime experience”.
“I first heard of GAs from a job advert posted by Aberdeenshire Council and when I read it, I thought it was too good to be true,” he said.
“Having begun my career as a modern apprentice in education ICT, I had always wanted to continue my education via work-based learning, so applying was a very easy decision.
“I joined Aberdeenshire Council as a GA in 2017. I began my career as a modern apprentice in educational ICT at Flintshire County Council in North Wales and having undertaken several varying tasks in many different aspects of ICT ranging from hardware to software I realised that I would like to focus on software and web development. I decided I wanted to further my education in these specialities. Were it not for the GA programme I would potentially have had to leave work to continue my education.
“So far I have really enjoyed my role as a GA at Aberdeenshire Council. The support offered to me from the Council and RGU has been invaluable and has allowed me to quickly settle into my role and the course. Thanks to the support of my work-based mentor and the members of my team, I already feel that I am a valued member of the team. I’m learning new things every day which I have been able to use to aid me on my course.
“The team I work in develops and maintains a number of web-based and mobile application systems which are used throughout the council. The team also developed and manages the Council’s website which gets around 50,000 views a day. As a member of the team I work on a number of these systems and am also involved in the planning and creation of new systems.”
Tom said working on different systems has helped him learn various new skills which are proving extremely useful in his course work.
“I’m able to apply what I am learning at work to my studies which is allowing me to complete my assessments to a higher standard,” he said.
“After graduation I would like to pursue a career in software development. I’d like to repay the trust placed in me by Aberdeenshire Council and use what I’ve learned to become a permanent member of the Applications Solutions team after my apprenticeship ends,” said Tom.
“The opportunities to progress my career and personal development within the Council have quickly become clear to me in my short time working here.
“I would strongly recommend GAs to others looking for forward not only their education but also their careers. This is a once in a lifetime experience.”
by Rob Smith
Press and Media Enquiries
GAs provide fully funded structured training to degree and MSc level for full-time employees – a great way to upskill your staff and make your business more productive.