Year 13 student Katrina is on the fast track to a successful engineering career after securing a prestigious apprenticeship with BMW

As well as being offered the highly sought-after four-year degree apprenticeship, Katrina also received offers from top universities including Warwick and Birmingham.

Katrina said: “I went along to a careers event at BMW and spoke to their current apprentices, had a tour of the plant and came away with a really good feel for what it would be like to work there. At UTC Oxfordshire, we also do employer-led projects (ELP) with BMW, which has given me a good insight into their company. I applied for an apprenticeship straight away.”

“Around December time, I completed all the online tests for the apprenticeship which includes maths, English and engineering tests. Having had the ELP experience with them really helped me with my application; I think it made me stand out from the others.”

“I was invited to their assessment centre around May time. I was pleased to have been selected, as there were only 10 candidates, all competing for the final three places. During the day, we did group activities, an individual activity, a group interview and the same online tests we had completed at home, this time around with far more pressure! For the group activity, we had to build a structure out of paper. I felt quite comfortable with this as we had practised assessment days like this at the UTC which really helped when it came to the real experience.”

“Four days later I received the degree apprenticeship offer from BMW. I was so pleased! In the first year, you are based at their training centre, completing the BTEC, and then the second and third year, you work towards your foundation degree, which is with Abingdon and Witney College, via Oxford Brookes. You spend two days a week there and the other three days back at the plant in Oxford, rotating around different departments. The final year is three days a week at Oxford Brookes, topping it up to a Bachelor Degree.”

“When I received my offer from BMW, I also had been seriously thinking about university and had to make a really hard decision with only a few days to decide. On one hand, I wanted to move away and find out what university life was like, and the mechanical engineering course at Warwick University (first choice) included a year of industry experience which appealed to me.”

“After speaking with my parents, teachers and friends, I decided to go for the apprenticeship. I weighed up student debt versus being paid to go to university, and the extra work experience I would get at BMW, versus the one year at university. I went with my gut and remembered how happy I was when I found out I had got the apprenticeship and all the work I had put in to get it.”

“I joined UTC Oxfordshire in sixth form and am studying an Engineering BTEC Extended Diploma and A-level maths and product design. I joined the UTC because I fancied something different. I like that they specialise in science, engineering and maths and the facilities were way beyond any other school or college I knew of. All of my friends stayed at my old school so I joined without knowing anyone but it was definitely worth it.”

“I would recommend UTC Oxfordshire to anyone. It is the best college in the area. Coming here has helped prepare me for my future and get real world experiences that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. There are so many opportunities thrown your way, you just have to take advantage of them.”



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