23/08/2016 07:00 BST | Updated 20/08/2017 06:12 BST

Want To Be The Next Mark Zuckerberg? A Level Leavers Can Train In Tech For Free And Get A BSc And No Student Debt. Say What?!


With A Level results day in the press last Thursday I started to think about my journey from when I left school - going to University and my ongoing career - and the completely different options there are now, which I am kind of envious of.

I didn't get amazing A Level results and ended up doing something without much thought - went to a University, failed miserably and got kicked out. Luckily another University took me in and I ended up with a 2:1 in Music - which was good from the respect that I got to meet loads of new people and friends who I still see regularly. I have an ongoing dream that I will become a full-time musician one day, but in reality but who needs a session cellist when you can use digital samples? Who can pay a musician Musicians Union rates anymore in an industry in transition; where digital disruption has dramatically changed the consumer's perception on the value of a music product - namely an album or CD! (That's another story). The professional marketing training that I did with CIM straight after my degree had the most impact on my career.

The kind of career opportunities available now are SO different, because although the internet was around when I finished school, it was nothing like it is today. Social media didn't really exist then either other than Friends Reunited. Now - if you see how many jobs revolve around social media, it is insane how change has happened so dramatically. As a digital leader, Mark Zuckerberg is seen to be one of the most powerful men in the world, given the amount of individuals and businesses who rely on his software. Social media has shaped businesses and humans, in the most incredibly positive ways, and sad ways, the fact that people are staring at a screen and talking to each other using tech more than not. I am a hippie at heart, which is why the latter scares me. So, what will the world be like in another 20 years? What new tech will emerge, how will the internet of things allow your life to be controlled by algorithms? If these kind of things interest you passionately and you want to be a part of the evolution of digital technology - within your lives and your family's lives - then you can be.

If you are leaving school right now and you want to be at the forefront of technology, trained in the newest technologies and work with companies who want and need minds like yours, then a digital apprenticeship could be just the thing for you. Your mind is powerful and you could be the next Zuckerberg, yes you! Or you could help transform an organisation or consumer habits, because your vision could help to determine how they react to the future of digital advancements and culture.

I had no idea until very recently that you could do a digital degree apprenticeship, which is a 4 year programme and at the end of it you get a BSc and you get paid a salary during the programme AND you don't get into any obscene student debt. I am still paying mine off now, and it often niggles me when I look at my pay slip each month. How much longer is this going to last?! It's been eleven years since I finished my degree.

There are savvy colleges like Reading UTC, Berkshire, whose student Erik Haxhilari became QA Apprenticeship's 10,000th Apprentice in Tech yesterday. Over HALF of their students applied for an apprenticeship this year with apprenticeships being their first choice before University.

In a recent government 'Digital Skills Crisis' report it said that over 13% of Computer Studies graduates are unemployed six months after they graduate. I mean WTF?! There is a skills gap out there so why is that happening? I mean it's terrible for those guys investing all that time in a course and not getting employed straight away when there are thousands of businesses out there needing well trained technologists who have fresh energy and looking to start an exciting career.

The apprenticeships programmes that QA Apprenticeships delivers has a 94% employment rate, this is so much higher than the University route.

To apply for an Apprenticeship click here:

#10kinTech @QAApprentices