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I don't need sleep, I need answers - apprentice GYG

So this is not your usual GYG blog.

*insert "I'm not like other girls quote"* /s

I'm a degree apprentice studying Manufacturing Engineering and I'm currently in my second year out of four. I work on site four days a week and spend one ridiculously long day on uni work.

I am a mostly private person and I have some concerns about being potentially identified based on what I post here so I will decide later on how far I'm willing to go. However, I did think that this would be a good idea not only because it might motivate me to do better but also to give potential future apprentices the idea of what it's like (since i didn't have that privilege).

I am planning to potentially make this a space not only about my uni struggles but also my competence development to do with my job (learning about stuff I don't need for the degree but could use for work)

First year units and summary:

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The units I'm doing this year are:

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So far I had to turn in an assignment for:

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What I need to focus on now:

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First update - 18/12/22

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Second update - 26/12/22

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Third update - 02/01/23

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Fourth update - 09/01/23

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Fifth update - 20/01/23

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Sixth update - 29/03/23

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(edited 10 months ago)

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Reply 1
I submitted my assignment.

I'm really happy with my references to specific legislations, I think I did a great job in clarifying which bits of the law I think are relevant to the case study. What I think I should have done better is weighing the importance of each question based on marks and making the length of my response rely on that.

I should make a start on my project - I've had the tools delivered about two weeks ago but didn't have the chance to do anything yet because I'm prioritizing other projects.

Over the holidays I will only need to look at CAD, other than that it's just whatever interests me.
Reply 2
really happy to see something like this as someone who will be applying for degree apprenticeships next year. is it difficult managing uni with work?
Reply 3
Original post by zeasea
really happy to see something like this as someone who will be applying for degree apprenticeships next year. is it difficult managing uni with work?


I did hope that it will be somewhat helpful to somebody so it was nice seeing your post.

It can be difficult at times but it's mostly all about good time management. The sooner you learn that the easier it gets.

We get assignments with a set deadline (although some tutors can be quite flexible) and the college/uni days are quite long so it's very easy to fall into the trap of "I'm tired/bored/don't know how to do it so I'll start tomorrow". As long as you work at it consistently and don't try to write a 5k word assignment the night before, I think it's very manageable.

I think it's important to understand that work-related workload will vary (sometimes I get very chill days and sometimes I have so much to do I don't even know where to start - my employer is mostly alright with me doing overtime so sometimes I end up doing 10-12 hour days). So once again, as long as you spread it over time you'll be fine.

Personally, I usually try to work hard during uni/college days and then spend maybe an hour or two on the assignments on the weekend and I end up finishing on time.

The employer will be aware that you've got uni work to complete so they are usually very understanding and helpful in regards to that.
Reply 4
Original post by Mara1680
I did hope that it will be somewhat helpful to somebody so it was nice seeing your post.

It can be difficult at times but it's mostly all about good time management. The sooner you learn that the easier it gets.

We get assignments with a set deadline (although some tutors can be quite flexible) and the college/uni days are quite long so it's very easy to fall into the trap of "I'm tired/bored/don't know how to do it so I'll start tomorrow". As long as you work at it consistently and don't try to write a 5k word assignment the night before, I think it's very manageable.

I think it's important to understand that work-related workload will vary (sometimes I get very chill days and sometimes I have so much to do I don't even know where to start - my employer is mostly alright with me doing overtime so sometimes I end up doing 10-12 hour days). So once again, as long as you spread it over time you'll be fine.

Personally, I usually try to work hard during uni/college days and then spend maybe an hour or two on the assignments on the weekend and I end up finishing on time.

The employer will be aware that you've got uni work to complete so they are usually very understanding and helpful in regards to that.

thanks! did you also apply to universities through ucas or did you just go for degree apprenticeships? i'm aware that they're quite competitive.
Reply 5
Original post by zeasea
thanks! did you also apply to universities through ucas or did you just go for degree apprenticeships? i'm aware that they're quite competitive.

I was quite confident in that I wanted an apprenticeship so I first applied straight out of school (didn't get any due to poor interviewing skills) then went on to do a BTEC to prepare for the next round of interviews. I applied after my first year and got multiple offers from different companies and accepted the one I'm currently at. So in short, I didn't apply to universities through UCAS because I didn't feel the need and didn't get that far yet anyway. However, had I done A-levels instead of a BTEC I think I probably would have applied to some unis as a backup option but still invested 99% of my focus into the apprenticeships application.
Reply 6
Original post by Mara1680
So this is not your usual GYG blog.

*insert "I'm not like other girls quote"* /s

I'm a degree apprentice studying Manufacturing Engineering and I'm currently in my second year out of four. I work on site four days a week and spend one ridiculously long day on uni work.

I am a mostly private person and I have some concerns about being potentially identified based on what I post here so I will decide later on how far I'm willing to go. However, I did think that this would be a good idea not only because it might motivate me to do better but also to give potential future apprentices the idea of what it's like (since i didn't have that privilege).

I am planning to potentially make this a space not only about my uni struggles but also my competence development to do with my job (learning about stuff I don't need for the degree but could use for work)

In my first year I took 6 units:
Computer Aided Design
Mathematics
Business Management
Quality and Reliability
Mechanical Science Materials
Manufacturing Processes

My results spanned from 61% to 79%

It was a rough year for me and I struggled to adjust and keep up with uni work. I promised myself that this year would be different.

One of the major things I need to work on is my time management.

The units I'm doing this year are:
Corporate Responsibility
Design and Manufacture
Engineering Project
Manufacture and Control
Operation Systems
Quality Systems

So far I had to turn in an assignment for:
- Corporate Responsibility. I think I did pretty okay but could have been better.
- Engineering Project. It was a project proposal. I think I did a pretty good job. I rushed picking the project a little bit. Should have thought better about what website I use for the Gantt chart. Should have focused a bit more on the technical stuff. I think I only briefly mentioned kanbans and six sigma.
-Design and Manufacure. I had to turn in a project made up of multiple somewhat complex models, a fully constraint assembly, drawings for each of those and a bit of written work regarding CAD in Manufacturing.

This is where my troubles began. I was staying on top of everything until I managed to lose all my files, setting me back around 2 months. I had to make up for it in 2 weeks. I managed but not completely which will definitely impact my grade.

What I need to focus on now: I need to finish and submit my next Corporate Responsibility assignment.


Another update while I still remember. I did a six sigma green belt course. It was so tough but I'm really excited to start implementing it in my projects. If all goes well I'll start the next class in March (as this one was reactive and the one in March will be proactive). I think this will be of great help and a game changer in my future work projects. Hopefully if I apply myself I'll get good at applying it. I'm hoping to become a six sigma black belt and then master black belt.

Additionally, I decided to join the IET. I want to see what I should focus on, if I can get mentoring and access the IET resources.
Oh im so happy to see this i want to do a degree apprentiship in the future and i havent seen a single person actually talk about their struggles everyones always Happy (i mean that good ig).I will be reading u post whatever way u choose to make them , good luck on ur studies:smile:
Reply 8
Original post by agyeiliz07
Oh im so happy to see this i want to do a degree apprentiship in the future and i havent seen a single person actually talk about their struggles everyones always Happy (i mean that good ig).I will be reading u post whatever way u choose to make them , good luck on ur studies:smile:


I'm glad it's of interest to somebody. :smile: Of course, like with anything there are better and worse days and pros and cons etc, but so far my struggles have always been short-lived or caused by my own poor choices. Have I made this GYG in my first year and kept it completely honest it would be filled with "I can't get used to actually having to do work outside of college and so I'm missing all of my deadlines".

If you need any advice or have any questions regarding degree apprenticeships I'm happy to help.
Reply 9
Next update coming.

New year, new me? Probably not. But new year, slightly more motivated me? Definitely!

So, I did a little bit of self-study on Friday. I researched into certain manufacturing processes relevant to my job, including nitride hardening, coating and plating. I also researched legislation I wasn't aware of including PED (Pressure Equipment Directive); PSSR 2000 (Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000) and ISO 45001. And finally, I researched transducers - since I use them quite a lot at work I wanted to find out how they work, why we use them etc.

Today I applied for IET mentoring. They are closed over the holidays (23/12 to 03/01) so I'm not expecting a reply over the next couple of days, especially since they emphasise that it may take a while to find a mentor because of high levels of interest. I also submitted my CPD hours declaration for 2022. I am a little bit unsure what I can include in the workplace CPD so my hours were probably higher than what I submitted. I also didn't include all the stuff I started and never finished (e.g. I'm halfway through an engineering book but didn't add it).

I also spent a little bit of time researching what other courses I could benefit from so maybe I'll complete some extra this year.

I am planning to do a little bit of CAD work in a bit for my uni course and go over my six sigma book.
Reply 10
Yet another update. We're back to grinding everybody. I've got a CAD assignment coming up. Is it even halfway done? Hell naw.

On the upside though, I got assigned a mentor through the IET so that's nice. I already got in touch with him and we're going to have our first meeting soon.

Additionally, some of my duties have been delegated so hurrraaayyy I actually don't need to worry about a bazillion things anymore and can prioritise the stuff that's actually important. Also, I started doing some new stuff at work, learning about fluid power systems. That's gonna come in handy.
Reply 11
Aight, so....

I have to admit I disappointed myself a little bit. Like I mentioned before, CAD assignment was due in. I was planning to work on it over the weekend but I was just so exhausted (I've been working long hours these past couple of weeks cause I'm working on an important project with some tight deadlines) I decided to procrastinate and sleep throughout the weekend.

The day of submission rolled around. I got most of the assignment finished but a couple of criteria I either didn't meet at all or didn't finish. By my calculations I have just capped myself at app. 60% unless the guy marking it is generous (he isn't). So yeah.

This is what annoys me about my qualifications a little - the grades don't reflect my abilities at all.

Some of the units I've done I honestly have no idea about how to use or apply them in real life. Like 0. Completely useless. And yet I got good grades.

I honestly feel very confident with CAD based on how much design job I've done and the fact I've had experience with it for the past 4 years. And yet I'm gonna get a crappy grade.

But it is what it is.

On the other hand, I had my first meeting with my mentor. IET has told me absolutely nothing about him before so when he introduced himself I was beyond impressed with his qualifications and achievements. That's gonna be me one day ladies and gentlemen.

I told him I'd like to get to the IEng status in a couple years and we discussed developing a plan to get me there and re-evaluating where I'm at with a fresh eye.

He seems super nice, but I am really awkward in general, but especially with new people, especially when I'm stressed. So I probably came off a little bit less professional than I'd like to. But hey, that's just another area for improvement!

I need to find out what mentoring activities I can log as CPD but that's something for another day.
Reply 12
Well, it's been a while... 2 months give or take.

I went through a little patch of procrastination. Work has been getting to me a lot and I decided to resurrect my social life. I gave into my stupidest instincts - I looked at the assignment, figured it looks difficult and decided to "just leave it for the next week". Well I very nearly screwed myself with this logic - as I'm sure everyone can imagine.

BUT! I got myself together about 2-3 weeks before the deadline, worked hard, and in my opinion I absolutely smashed the assignment!

I've got multiple exams and assignments still upcoming so I'm going to need to keep this up. Not long left, I'm expecting to be done by June or so.

Work has been HECTIC, but I'm slowly regaining some work-life balance. Trying to be more healthy, work less hours (which means I'm struggling to get stuff done but at least now I've got the time and energy to actually live a little outside of work). I've been able to get back to some old hobbies, spend more time with friends and family - so overall, I'm happy.

I did some googling and searched my university's website to figure out how my classification is going to work (because of course nobody explained that to me, why would they, it's not like it's important or anything...)

I occasionally think about master's but I figured I'd like to speak to a career's advisor once I get the chance. There is no rush and I've got other things to focus on.
Reply 13
Original post by Mara1680
Well, it's been a while... 2 months give or take.

I went through a little patch of procrastination. Work has been getting to me a lot and I decided to resurrect my social life. I gave into my stupidest instincts - I looked at the assignment, figured it looks difficult and decided to "just leave it for the next week". Well I very nearly screwed myself with this logic - as I'm sure everyone can imagine.

BUT! I got myself together about 2-3 weeks before the deadline, worked hard, and in my opinion I absolutely smashed the assignment!

I've got multiple exams and assignments still upcoming so I'm going to need to keep this up. Not long left, I'm expecting to be done by June or so.

Work has been HECTIC, but I'm slowly regaining some work-life balance. Trying to be more healthy, work less hours (which means I'm struggling to get stuff done but at least now I've got the time and energy to actually live a little outside of work). I've been able to get back to some old hobbies, spend more time with friends and family - so overall, I'm happy.

I did some googling and searched my university's website to figure out how my classification is going to work (because of course nobody explained that to me, why would they, it's not like it's important or anything...)

I occasionally think about master's but I figured I'd like to speak to a career's advisor once I get the chance. There is no rush and I've got other things to focus on.

congratulations on overcoming procrastination! glad you're doing better :smile:
Reply 14
Soooo, all exams are done and I've only got one more piece of work to hand it and I am done. Dobby is a free ******* elf until September/October.

The exams honestly went so-so. I invested all of my time revising for one but not the other (cause silly little me anticipated it to be easy, oh boi was I wrong). But yeah, I am somewhat confident I'll pass that one so we're good.
Reply 15
Original post by Mara1680
Soooo, all exams are done and I've only got one more piece of work to hand it and I am done. Dobby is a free ******* elf until September/October.

The exams honestly went so-so. I invested all of my time revising for one but not the other (cause silly little me anticipated it to be easy, oh boi was I wrong). But yeah, I am somewhat confident I'll pass that one so we're good.

Well done! I wish I was done with exams...

How's work going - are they supportive of you studying for exams etc?
Reply 16
Original post by zeasea
Well done! I wish I was done with exams...

How's work going - are they supportive of you studying for exams etc?


When does your exam season finish?

Work's been pretty good. It's honestly been quite chill lately. No need for crazy hours right now and I managed to take some study leave. They even let me do some uni assignments during my work hours. They've been as supportive as possible I'd say.

I need to hand everything in by the end of the month, especially since I kind of anticipate work to pick up the pace so I'm gonna be really busy again.
Reply 17
Original post by Mara1680
When does your exam season finish?

Work's been pretty good. It's honestly been quite chill lately. No need for crazy hours right now and I managed to take some study leave. They even let me do some uni assignments during my work hours. They've been as supportive as possible I'd say.

I need to hand everything in by the end of the month, especially since I kind of anticipate work to pick up the pace so I'm gonna be really busy again.

I've done my official external exams now (AS Physics), but I still have my end-of-year exams starting on I think the 12th of June. My maths exam is somewhere during the week beginning 26 June, but I have no clue when chemistry is because our department is a bit of a mess 🙃
Reply 18
Original post by zeasea
I've done my official external exams now (AS Physics), but I still have my end-of-year exams starting on I think the 12th of June. My maths exam is somewhere during the week beginning 26 June, but I have no clue when chemistry is because our department is a bit of a mess 🙃


Still quite a lot of time then. You feeling well-prepared?

I mean I'd say it's a cause of concern if you still don't know all the exam dates at this point haha.

Also I salute you for taking chemistry, I've always found it extremely difficult and still think it's a miracle I passed my chemistry GCSE.
Reply 19
Original post by Mara1680
Still quite a lot of time then. You feeling well-prepared?

I mean I'd say it's a cause of concern if you still don't know all the exam dates at this point haha.

Also I salute you for taking chemistry, I've always found it extremely difficult and still think it's a miracle I passed my chemistry GCSE.

Yeah I've been gently asking for the chemistry department to get itself together all year, but last week I finally got really ****ed after getting a C on a past paper purely because of a question about content we were never taught and that our teacher claims we're meant to already know (we're not). I ended up going to my physics teacher (who is an assistant headteacher) and telling her everything and formally complained about how much of a complete mess it's been for the last year. She's promised to try and do something before she leaves at the end of the year, and I believe the complaint has also been passed on to the head of sixth form. I can only hope they do something and my year 13 chemistry experience is less full of absolute carnage, because I only really got through this year with the help of the year 13s.

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