Graduate Apprenticeship is fresh challenge for high performer Ffion
Ffion Edwards has overcome serious health challenges to shine in her Graduate Apprenticeship with Barclays.
Ffion started her Business Management (Honours) Degree graduate apprenticeship with global finance firm Barclays in Glasgow in September 2020.
Ffion said: “In 2013 I was diagnosed with leukaemia. I was in remission by 2015 but the treatment was quite harsh. It left me with cognitive disabilities which mean I can't process things as fast as other people.
“I have some physical disabilities as well due to nerve damage. And I also have dyslexia. It therefore takes me longer to go through modules in my Graduate Apprenticeship.”
Ffion's been supported during her Graduate Apprenticeship by her learning provider, the University of Strathclyde, who allocate a dedicated Learning Advisor to support the application of theory to practice.
In addition, as well as providing in-role experience Barclays support Ffion via a dedicated Apprentice Talent Coach. This sees every Apprentice at Barclays receive 1-2-1 support and coaching above and beyond their line management development from specialised Coaches. They not only provide skilled career coaching but also apprenticeship expertise and a focus on wellbeing. This has helped build her knowledge, skills and confidence.
Christine Sinclair, Assistant Programme Director for the Business Management degree at the Strathclyde Business School, said: “Ffion had previously had to withdraw from higher education studies due to a serious health condition, the treatment for which impacted her ability to attend university.
“The side-effects of the treatment caused significant cognitive changes which impacted her concentration, multi-tasking and memory recall. But her grit and determination have seen Ffion develop strategies to aid her recovery.”
Christine said: “Ffion chose the Graduate Apprenticeship degree as it offered her the chance to learn in role while having the opportunity to study which culminates in a permanent role at Barclays for all Apprentices. She was recruited into Global Reconciliation Services (GRS) at Barclays as a Higher Apprentice in Operations during the pandemic in 2020.
“Her growth in confidence during her Graduate Apprenticeship and tenacity shines through, not only in her studies but also in the workplace. Ffion is one of the highest performing in her year, with her line manager confirming that this growth has also allowed Ffion to excel in her role with Barclays.”
I was attracted to a Graduate Apprenticeship because you gain a degree qualification while working. The fact you're earning while you're learning was really attractive to me. I've always been someone who wants to expand their knowledge and absorb as much as possible. With a Graduate Apprenticeship I can apply what I'm learning to the workplace. That's very appealing.
Business Management Graduate Apprentice
Such is her progress that Ffion was a finalist in the Graduate Apprenticeship category at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.
Ffion said the adjustments and support provided by the university and Barclays have made a huge difference.
She said: “The university's disability services have been great. For example, I get extra time in exams and I have an hour each week with a study mentor.”
Graduate Apprenticeships are a way to gain a qualification up to honours degree level while in paid employment.
Designed by education and employers, Graduate Apprenticeships are offered in key sectors that need highly skilled employees.
Ffion said: “I was attracted to a Graduate Apprenticeship because you gain a degree qualification while working. The fact you're earning while you're learning was really attractive to me.
“I've always been someone who wants to expand their knowledge and absorb as much as possible. With a Graduate Apprenticeship I can apply what I'm learning to the workplace. That's very appealing.
“I wanted to further my understanding about businesses and how they operate and I'm doing that through my apprenticeship.”
Ffion added: “My confidence levels were very low at the start of my Graduate Apprenticeship. I didn't have enough confidence and belief in myself that I could maintain the required work standard for the degree and accomplish all I needed to do at work.
“I found going to meetings and communicating with others invaluable throughout the apprenticeship. And the university's well-being services really helped me. I've gained more confidence and skills to help me produce better work.
“And Barclays provide one day a week for university studies and developmental time undisturbed. They have a Talent Coach assigned to all the apprentices. They also allow us to gain experience with other teams.”
Ffion wouldn't hesitate to encourage others to consider apprenticeships. She said: “I would absolutely recommend a Graduate Apprenticeship. You get to enhance your understanding of how a business operates.
“When I finish my apprenticeship I hope to progress to a management level grade. Within about five years I'd like to be head of my own team as a manager within Barclays.”
Ffion added: “It's really nice to be a finalist in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards. It's good to have your hard work noticed.”
Christine added: “Ffion’s career trajectory is clear. Her tenacity and drive is being noticed by colleagues and Ffion’s potential just shines out of her. Her absolute determination to succeed deserves the utmost recognition.”