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Hannah Steel

Degree Level Apprentice – Lab Technician

Apprenticeship Experience

Name: Hannah Steel

Apprenticeship Programme: Level 6 Laboratory Scientist

Current Job Title: Degree Level Apprentice – Laboratory Technician

What did you do before joining CPI?
Before joining CPI I was at college full-time, studying A‑Levels in Biology, Chemistry and English Literature. Along with this, I had a part-time job in retail.

What qualities do you think CPI has as an employer?
CPI invests in you and helps you become the best you can, both professionally and academically. It offers support whereever it is needed and the people here always check to make sure everything is going well with both the university work and tasks related to the job.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?
It was the best option for me. I really wanted to enhance my academic profile but I didn’t want to go to university full-time. I knew an apprenticeship would give me the valuable hands-on experience that not many people my age would have, as well as give me the opportunity to get a biological sciences degree.

What appealed to you about an apprenticeship as opposed to other further learning or study programmes?
The main thing is the lack of debt, which would come with studying at university, as well as gaining hands-on experience in a professional environment.

What was it that interested you in the subject area your apprenticeship is in?
During my GCSEs, my favourite subjects were always maths and science. When I got to A‑Levels, Biology and Chemistry became the subjects I was more interested in and I knew I wanted a career involving those.

What are your key responsibilities as an apprentice?
I am currently responsible for routine checks of certain pieces of equipment. I am also beginning to help out on projects as I become more experienced and familiar with the different methods and equipment.

What is the best part of your apprenticeship?
It gives a real insight into what a working professional environment is like. It has given me a great opportunity in allowing me to earn while I learn and not get into debt from the university side. I would say it has, and will continue to, set me up very well for the rest of my working life.

What are your future career goals and how has/​will this apprenticeship help you reach them?
I’m not certain at this moment in time how I want to progress, other than within the scientific area. This apprenticeship will help me gain the valuable experience and knowledge to achieve more in my career.

What advice would you give to anyone considering applying for an apprenticeship?
To just go for it. If the apprenticeship is in an area you enjoy and can see yourself working in, apply. Having several years’ work experience in an area you are interested in and a degree with no debt is a good situation to be in.

What has been the hardest or most challenging aspect of your apprenticeship so far?
It was initially understanding how things function in a professional scientific environment as I only had experience working in retail where everything is laid out for you. In the apprenticeship, it is more finding work for yourself and asking colleagues to show you new things – which they are always willing to do!