Yassmine Girgis, Jaguar Land Rover

Yassmine is currently studying a BTEC Extended Diploma in Engineering alongside A-level Maths. She has been accepted onto a competitive and prestigious degree apprenticeship with Jaguar Land Rover.

What was the process you had to go through to get considered for the apprenticeship?

“There were two sets of tests that all interviewees had to complete online followed by an assessment day. There were over 6,000 applicants and I was one of 200 who managed to secure a place.”

When does the apprenticeship start and how long does it last?

“It begins on 4 September and it lasts for six years.”

Do you know what kinds of things you’ll be learning?

“During the first year I’ll be sent to college full time, and then in the half term I’ll go back to the plant and work with them. The second year I believe is college part time and then working on the plant for the rest of the year. Then, from the third year to the sixth year, I will be sent to the University of Warwick to study a bachelor’s degree in Applied Engineering which is all paid for.”

What made you decide this was what you wanted to pursue?

“When I started at the UTC I only had thoughts of university in my mind but the UTC really encouraged me to consider apprenticeships. I think I only applied for two apprenticeships because I’ve always had it in my head that I need to get a degree from a university, so when these apprenticeships were brought to my attention I thought they were too good to be true! As I progressed through each stage of the application process and found out about the apprenticeship I realised what a fantastic opportunity this is. It’s really something I would never have thought of. I definitely have the UTC to thank for showing me that apprenticeships aren’t just for mechanics.”

What are your plans for after you have finished your apprenticeship?

“My aim is to keep working for the company once I have completed the apprenticeship. There are four main areas you can go into, which are purchase, manufacture, design and technician. I’m not completely sure which one I would like to pursue – we decide this one year into the apprenticeship, but I’m currently leaning more towards design. I think helping to improve design and efficiency of vehicles would be an interesting role within the company.”

When did you join UTC Oxfordshire and what made you decide to join?

“I joined in the opening year of the UTC, September 2015, after doing AS-levels at my previous school. I didn’t do as well as I hoped and I thought I could do a lot better. I happened to see the walk-in interviews taking place for this new UTC Oxfordshire engineering college while helping out with NCS. I printed off my CV and the next day walked in and explained my situation with Sue, the Vice Principal. It was such a risk to start at a new school but I’m so glad because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have met all the great people here, got to use the facilities or found out about apprenticeships. I also got the opportunity to do the BTEC course which is a much better way for me to learn.”

Are you glad you decided to join the UTC and do you feel it has helped you prepare for your future?

“The whole experience here at the UTC made it really worthwhile; the facilities are obviously amazing, which normal schools don’t have, but also the staff here are so respectful to you and this makes for a really nice learning environment. If you show focus and have a good work ethic then the teachers will happily help you out. There is a really good relationship between students and teachers here. They want you to enhance your knowledge, so it’s not only about what’s on the syllabus, but also a wider range of things from their personal experiences of working in industry. You may not particularly need to know these things at this stage but it helps you to see a wider picture.

“The motivation from my tutors and teachers is what helped me to get the apprenticeship as they aren’t just satisfied with making sure you have somewhere to go after the UTC; they want to make sure that it works for you and gives you a challenge. They push you to understand all the options that are available to you, so that you can choose the best option.”