At the start of the month, I completed the Level 4 Data Analyst apprenticeship and was awarded a Distinction. After 18 months of writing up projects, attending training weeks and completing exams, all the hard work paid off and I have received my official certificates. 12 of the 18 months were spent working from home and adapting to the strange circumstances which meant the end of the apprenticeship crept up on me so quickly. Despite the challenges of the past year, having something to focus on helped me a lot and I’m proud to be coming out of it having achieved the highest grade. It feels so surreal to say that I have finished, travelling down to Plymouth back in September 2019 for a work event and meeting the team for the first time feels like yesterday.

The first stage of the apprenticeship included attending the training weeks in Manchester, which is where I learnt the content for the exams and skills which I could use in my projects or daily tasks. During the first two training weeks, I met some lovely people that were also doing the course and it was nice to get to know a variety of different people going through the same experience. The final two training weeks were following the national lockdown in March 2020, this meant that we joined an online classroom environment instead and completed the training remotely. Although this meant less interaction within the lessons and with the other students, it worked out really well and I went onto pass both exams over the summer.

I then had to complete the written projects which were required to showcase my skills and evidence that I was able to meet all of the competences in the checklist. Completing the projects built on my confidence of using the skills that I’d been learning and strengthened my ability to prioritise tasks, plan how I was going to carry out the projects and explain my decisions clearly. The finalised projects were complimented by an Employer Reference written by my line manager Lou. The reference was more extensive than I anticipated because every competence had to be evidenced and written about. However, I’m very appreciative of the effort Lou put in and it definitely contributed to the final result.

The End Point Assessment included an interview, which lasted for 90 minutes and consisted of a mix of questions surrounding my role at Geolytix, my experience of the apprenticeship, the projects that I completed and the BCS Synoptic Project. This part of the apprenticeship allowed the assessor to see how well I met the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours for the qualifying criteria. The assessor made it feel more of a professional discussion rather than an interview and asked me questions which enabled me to thoroughly reflect on the apprenticeship.

To say that I didn’t even know what SQL was before I started, I’ve definitely come a long way and have developed both personally and professionally. Completing the apprenticeship whilst working alongside people that are dedicated to helping you succeed has been a massively rewarding experience. It’s a shame that I couldn’t celebrate properly, but I can’t wait to be reunited with the team when possible!

Rebecca Mellor, Data Analyst at Geolytix