32-year-old Sarah Gillespie from Londonderry spoke about her experience of studying a Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) in Software Development at North West Regional College:
‘’After I left school, I studied Pharmacy at university and worked as a qualified locum for a few years but I didn’t enjoy it. I found it difficult to break into the pharmacy industry so I decided to take a break and began working in a lab.
‘’I really enjoyed working at the lab and was surprised at how much I loved the IT aspect of it as I never studied IT in school.
‘’The IT sector is constantly growing in Northern Ireland and the apprenticeship opportunities are great. I applied for the Fujitsu apprenticeship which has no age limit and I haven’t looked back since.’’
Sarah added: ‘’When I first started working at Fujitsu I completed a level 3 apprenticeship and they advised me to apply for the part-time foundation degree in Software Development at North West Regional College so I thought why not give it a go?
‘’I’m glad I chose to study at the college because the HLA course is much more in-depth and aligned with what I do in work. I will complete my HLA next year and I’m hoping to achieve some good marks.’’
Sarah also won Fujitsu’s ‘Apprentice of the Year’ last year and was over the moon: ‘’I was really surprised that I won to be honest, I was so proud to be shortlisted and when I found out I won, I was delighted!
‘’It was great to have my work colleagues there to support me and my story was also shared throughout the company.’’
She said: ‘’I wouldn’t want to put anyone off going to university if that’s what they wanted to do but I think the HLA in Software Development accredited by Ulster University is a brilliant opportunity for those interested in perusing a career in IT as it allows me to earn as I learn and gain experience in the industry.’’
For more information about applying for a Higher Level Apprenticeship in Software Development, call Peter Wisener on 02871276422