School leavers don’t need to go into tens of thousands of pounds of debt to live ‘the uni experience’.

Teale on campus at this month's Residential

Annually, at the start of each new school year, we hold a week long residential on campus to socialise and learn together. This wasn’t possible in 2020 which made this year’s residential week even more significant. Stage 3 Degree Apprentiship Student shares his reflections after the week.

‘I appreciate the School of Economics going to such efforts to make the most out of the Economics Degree Apprenticeship residential week this year that they consulted with mother nature herself to ensure the sun shone throughout the entire week!!  I’m sure Iain Fraser will have something to say about correlation not necessarily implying causation.

Regardless, the School did maximise the in-person nature of the week by pre-recording lectures on course content. This enabled module convenors to use face-to-face sessions for interactive games, workshops and discussions with the purpose to both dive deeper into course content and explore topics around the syllabus.

This innovative idea was well-received by my cohort of apprentices who have built up an intellectual curiosity from two years of degree-level economics study, as well as, two years of applying this study to real life problems as professional economists within our workplaces. This blended virtual/in-person approach made the most of the symbiotic nature of work and study of an apprenticeship – highlighting the opportunities that traditional undergraduate university study cannot offer.

Of course, the real highlight among my cohort was spending time together in person. Despite having 18 months apart, the shared experience of studying and working through the pandemic – including many directly supporting the government’s response to the pandemic – has brought us closer. Games and quizzes on campus; meals together in local restaurants; drinks and clubbing in Canterbury; and even an afternoon on the beach proves school leavers don’t need to go into tens of thousands of pounds of debt to live ‘the uni experience’.

This residential has highlighted, for me, that the friends I’ve made, experiences I’ve had and knowledge I’ve gained while being financially secure working in a rewarding role that a traditional degree doesn’t compare to doing this degree apprenticeship.’


Teale Cunningham is in his third year studying for The Government Economics Service Degree Level Apprenticeship