Around a year and a half ago, it was time for me to decide what I would do post sixth form. My peers were all applying to universities and my teachers were encouraging me to do the same. I had always thought I would go to university because I have always been academic, enjoyed studying and understood that getting a degree is a massive achievement. However, whilst not ruling it out in the future, the decision ended up being straight forward for me. With the ever-growing pile of debt and not knowing the career path that I would take after university, I decided against applying to do a degree and decided that I wanted to spend the next year and a half earning whilst I was learning instead.

2 months after finishing my A Level exams, I joined GEOLYTIX as their first apprentice. The apprenticeship is in data analytics and by the end of the 18 months I will have the Dell EMC Data Science Associate Certificate, BCS Diploma in Data Analysis Concepts and a Level 4 qualification in Data Analytics. The apprenticeship is through Arch Apprentices and consists of working full time in the Leeds office, with 4 training weeks in Manchester which are spread out across the first 8 months. Within the training weeks, I am learning the content for the exams that I will be sitting, and also gaining exposure to a range of software which is not necessarily used within GEOLYTIX. I attended the first training week in December which was both insightful and interesting, mainly learning the basics of data and giving me the chance to get to know other people doing the apprenticeship.

As part of the apprenticeship, I am expected to write up at least 5 projects which display the skills that I use within my everyday work and tick off a list of competencies required to gain the data analytics qualification. I also have regular meetings with my Learning and Development Coach who was assigned to give me feedback on the projects and support me with the progress I make throughout the apprenticeship.

Day to day, I am constantly learning new aspects of the job and every working day is completely different. Within my first 3 weeks I had already settled into the Leeds office, visited the London office and been on a team trip to Devon. Although I was thrown in at the deep end, the team welcomed me warmly and I felt completely supported. I have also now been given the opportunities of attending client meetings in Nottingham, attending a data analytics event in Leeds and spending a week in Manchester for the apprenticeship course. I have been part of the GEOLYTIX team for around 5 months which has gone unbelievably quickly. I already feel as if I have developed both personally and professionally, and the experience I have gained so far is completely invaluable.

I am now gaining responsibility for tasks including completing regular updates of some of GEOLYTIX’s GeoData packs and the team are including me on various client projects. This is exciting and allows me to develop the skills I have already learnt, whilst also being exposed to learning even more. Whilst I am definitely becoming more confident in the tasks that I am completing, I still make mistakes and learn new things every day. I am looking forward to progressing further and anticipate lots more learning within the year ahead of me.

Rebecca Mellor, GEOLYTIX