Technical Apprentice Case Study - Faileigh Harriott

06 February 2024

Name: Faileigh Harriott

Employer: University of Birmingham

Role: Level 5 Teaching Laboratory Technician

Level: 5

Time in role: Completed in 2021

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship? 

I decided to do an apprenticeship as I was not sure what career path I wanted to take and did not want to waste time and money at university until I was certain on what I wanted to do. I always had an interest in science and laboratory work so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to see if I wanted to pursue a career in laboratory work, whilst still gaining a qualification. 

What are your roles and responsibilities? 

My role and responsibilities as an apprentice included health and safety in the laboratory as well as general housekeeping. I prepped all the reagents and set ups needed for the Biomedical and Pharmacy laboratory sessions whilst also providing in session support. 

What did you do before your apprenticeship? 

I studied a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science at College.

What have you gained from your apprenticeship? 

I have gained a valuable skill set for laboratory work across many applications of science. My professionalism in the workplace and confidence developed massively as I worked closely with lecturers and students. I was also involved a lot with apprentice events and advertising apprenticeships at events which helped me network more widely.

What are the benefits to completing an apprenticeship over other pathways choices (eg: A-Levels)? 

You still gain a qualification whilst developing work skills and experience (& getting paid)

Where do you see yourself after your apprenticeship is completed? 

Once my apprenticeship finished, I moved to a higher role in the teaching labs which gave me more independence and responsibilities over sessions and the development of new practicals in the labs.

Did anything surprise you about your apprenticeship? If so, what?

 I was surprised how included you feel with the other apprentices at the University who are in different roles.

What support has been valuable to you? What tips would you give to apprentice managers?

The support from line managers and the apprentice manager was so valuable. It helps to have support around deadlines at college and time in work when needed to finish assignments.

Do you have any advice to others who are considering an apprenticeship?

I would encourage apprenticeships as I have achieved so much. I began as an apprentice and have ended up in a senior Research Technician role in a genetics lab, my apprenticeship gave me a HNC qualification which I have now converted into a Bsc in Biology via the Open University which has been supported by University of Birmingham. I have completed a degree all whilst working- gaining skills, experience, networking and completing training in latest Science technologies.