Cohort: 3 - First Year Undergraduate
Growing up in the North East of England in our lower years at secondary school I remember having a talk promoting engineering as a career saying there is a ‘shortage of engineers in the UK, especially in the North East’. So, I started sixth form and applied for traditional universities and had firmed my place for Durham University and was set on that route. I had noticed a few apprenticeships that had come up through universities like Exeter and other very prestigious schemes such as Rolls Royce, but nothing to deter me from going to Durham until I found the The Dyson Institute degree apprenticeship and I had to apply straight away.
As well as offering a top engineering degree, the other attractive idea was that you are not missing out on the social aspect of meeting new young people as The Dyson Institute take on cohorts and you all live in the same ‘student accommodation’ pods unlike other apprenticeships where you might be just one of a few apprentices and not have an integrated programme on one site. Living in the Dyson Village is very good, it is quite a social place to live in being around fellow students. The communal kitchens are quite a social space in particular as well as the TV pod. In my kitchen, we share out the cooking so one or a pair cook each day of the week which not only saves so much time not having to cook every day but also is quite social as we all eat together every evening. The facilities are all much better than typical university accommodation for the price you pay - not only are the rooms larger but because it is essentially brand new.
The biggest surprise about The Dyson Institute is the amount of sports activities, clubs and societies that are on going. I did not expect such a range of activities that you could join in with for what is a relatively small number of people. It might not be the same as typical university student's social life, but it is actually pretty decent. We have a social budget and there is a bus to Bristol for nights out every fortnight, they also run buses for days out to places like Bath. As well as this, there is usually something to do at the pods. Sometimes there are parties at the pods on Friday nights and students from all 3 cohorts are present. Other than that, even just watching something on the TV together in TV pod or going out somewhere there's something to be doing.
Admittedly the programme probably is harder than traditional university course in balancing all our academic study with our work, but it is not impossible. The fact that you have a full cohort of people doing the same work makes it feel normal. I've never found myself stressed. I do not find myself working every night after work, but you do learn to make the most of your study days. There is a lot of content to take in as we only have teaching on one day, but again its nothing that's impossible. I've never found myself stressed.
I did not expect to get a project of such importance or value to my team. It surprised me, but it is a really good thing and means every day at work is a new challenge and I learn something valuable. Dyson is a very friendly workplace, there is limited pressure, and based on my first work rotation team - people in your team are all keen to want to help you and you build friendly working relationships but also enjoy good casual conversation. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with my team in my rotation.
What else could you ask for? Not only do you have your tuition fees paid for, but you also receive a competitive salary that increases as you progress through the years.