Studying for a degree online has its pros and cons, but the DAP offers the best of both.

Ellis Cameron, in the third year of the Degree Apprenticeship Programme writes how our week long Canterbury campus residential offers apprentices a chance to interact as students and chance to get to know each other outside of the workplace.

There was a great atmosphere around campus, and it was enjoyable to be around fellow apprentices, especially given the restrictions of the past 18 months. The residential offers apprentice’s a chance to get to know each other outside of the workplace and interact as students rather than civil servants. Having a full week dedicated to university, rather than the single day a week as usual, also really improves the university experience offered by the course.

The structure of the week was very well put together and was a great start to the year. There was a manageable balance between work that was specific to the course and general discussion on economics, whilst still allowing plenty of time for apprentices to socialise and settle into the academic year ahead. Having pre-recorded lectures was also of great help, as it was nice to get ahead on the content and come to the in-person lectures with questions.

Looking ahead at the policy analysis module, I can see how it will be useful in the workplace. All departments look at policies and must consider the impacts of those polices once and if they’re brought into legislation. Other more specific modules, such as International Trade, and looking ahead to Economic History, might not be as applicable to the workplace, but still build the foundation of a strong economic skillset.

Learning online certainly seems like a different experience than learning in a more convention university environment. However, I think this has been largely equalised during the pandemic. The biggest difference between the GES-DAP and doing a conventional degree is working whilst learning. It’s a challenge to balance both the responsibilities, but they feed into each other and allow you to improve your knowledge of economics whilst applying it practically.

Ellis Cameron is in the 3rd year (stage 2), apprenticed at DEFRA studying for his Government Economic Service Degree Level Apprenticeship.