Caitlin Sullivan embarked on her apprenticeship journey in 2019 after securing a politics degree from the University of York. We chat to Caitlin about why she chose this route and her exciting next career chapter...

Apprentice Caitlin Sullivan

Hi Caitlin, what made you chose an apprenticeship as your next steps after university?

Upon graduating I was really concerned about my graduate prospects. The question of ‘getting a graduate scheme’ became the golden question and it ruled my third year experience.

When I moved back home to the Wirral after graduating, and amidst the flurry of job-hunting, I found the apprenticeship scheme with Wirral Borough Council and I felt like it would open a lot of doors for me.

Having just graduated with a degree in politics, I wanted to work in the field in some capacity.

The scheme offered me the best opportunity to do so whilst staying at home, earning money and gaining crucial experience. I certainly fell on my feet with landing a place on the scheme, and it was the best decision I could’ve made at the time.

What did your apprenticeship involve?

My apprenticeship was in the Finance and Investment division as an apprentice accountant. Embarking on an accountancy qualification was the greatest skill I learnt throughout my time as an apprentice. I am incredibly proud of my qualification, because it reflects hard work and ambition.

We hear you've now progressed on to a Masters degree at Queen's University Belfast - congratulations! How did your apprenticeship experience help with this?

My apprenticeship experience has been really important to me in two ways. Firstly, my ability to work with numbers and data. This is a skill I learnt through doing the AAT qualification, and my practical experience having worked in accountancy and finance for two years.

Secondly, confidence. In my masters, I decided to undertake a quantitative thesis, which includes gathering, coding and analysing my own data. This shows how much confidence I gained throughout my apprenticeship that I had the decisiveness and vision to go down that route. Whilst I know I’ll encounter challenges in applying my knowledge at a masters level, I know that I can do anything when I put my mind to it, which is something I attribute to my apprenticeship journey.

Without the practical and technical experience I gained throughout my apprenticeship, I don’t think I would’ve embarked on doing a masters in the first place. So in that regard, I would 100% call it a life changing experience!

What are your career ambitions after your graduate?

My ambition is certainly to continue working in politics, all be it, not in finance and investment. I would like to go into public policy analysis or advising on policy, which is something I feel equipped to do with the combination of my apprenticeship experience and masters.

This week marks National Apprenticeship Week (7-13 February) and Wirral Met College are highlighting that apprenticeships are not just for school leavers.

Wirral Met offers apprenticeships in partnership with over 500 employers, with a wide range of levels available. Career routes include accountancy, management, construction, healthcare, hospitality, science, sports coaching and marketing.

With both technical and soft skills in demand by employers, many graduates are looking at different routes to employment and are seeing the benefits an apprenticeship can offer them after a degree.

Competition for graduate jobs reached a record high of 91 applications per available vacancy in 2021 (Institute of Student Employers), apprenticeships offer an alternative route for graduates looking to boost their in-demand skills for the future.

Interested in an apprenticeship? Find out more here and apply online today.


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