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90-second read: Why I’m an apprentice…

90-second read: Why I’m an apprentice…

Paul Alexander, 56, from High Wycombe, is Business Performance and Analysis manager at London Borough of Hillingdon and here he tells us everything about him and his apprenticeship at Bucks New University.


Born in Northern Ireland, now live in High Wycombe.

What are you studying?

Digital and Technology Solutions Professional – Data Analyst degree

What’s been your education history so far?

Little formal education, completed A levels in 1980/81. Then I dabbled with attending a polytechnic in 1983, but it didn’t suit me.

I worked as a clerk for a while with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive – it was dead man’s shoes progression - so rolled the dice, moved to London, and got a job as a temp in a bank in the city.

20 years later after having enormous amounts of fun, it was career change time and I moved into local government as a homelessness outreach worker. After a while moved into performance and business intelligence.

What does your current job entail?

Managing a team of analysts looking at a broad range of services in local government.

What made you decide on doing an apprenticeship?

The academic challenge, I welcome the opportunity and discipline.

What is the best thing about being an apprentice?

I enjoy learning. Having the opportunity to learn directly related to my professional life, and to be supported by my employer in that, is incredible fun. I have been lucky enough to attend both my sons’ graduations and I will be chuffed to have them attend mine!

Describe how you balance work and training.

Work first has to be the priority, advance planning communication with my team and my manager ensures I have the opportunity for my learning.

What have you found most challenging?

Discipline. Having to deliberately set aside time at weekends/evening for further study. Also expectation, I didn’t quite know what to expect… it’s nearly 40 years since I last sat an academic exam!

What would you say to someone thinking of doing a degree apprenticeship?

Just do it, downside is….zero.  When I am in a recruitment role seeing someone with both qualifications and experience it is exactly what I am looking for.

What’s the dream long-term?

Work smarter, relax more.

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