Working, earning and studying simultaneously through an apprenticeship

Posted on: 7 February, 2024

Jodi-Ann Morgan, Junior Cost Consultant with Arcadis Consulting and winner of UCEM’s Apprentice of the Year – Undergraduate award in 2024, has thrived on the apprenticeship model and the ability to work, earn and study at the same time.

Name: Jodi-Ann Morgan

Job role: Junior Cost Consultant

Company: Arcadis Consulting (UK) Ltd

For many apprentices, their decision to enrol is the result of months of research and planning – but not for Jodi. She had planned to go to a traditional university after college, and hadn’t thought about doing an apprenticeship until her circumstances suddenly changed.

In her words, Jodi was “slingshotted into adult life”. Living on her own, with bills to pay, meant Jodi needed to start working earlier than she had expected. Her college tutor encouraged her to apply for an apprenticeship as a way of working, earning and studying at the same time.

Jodi had always been interested in buildings, and was attracted to the idea of working in a truly global industry that could take her anywhere. A conversation with her sister’s manager introduced Jodi to the idea of surveying as a career, and it instantly appealed: “[Surveying] just sounded like something I’d enjoy – going on site, making sure a project stayed within budget, being a part of it from start to finish.”

Jodi secured a role with Arcadis Consulting, and began her journey towards becoming a chartered surveyor.

She credits UCEM not only with helping her acquire the knowledge, skills and behaviours she will need for her qualification, but also for supporting her when she was recently diagnosed with dyslexia. Jodi believes the virtual learning environment helps her make more progress than would be the case at a traditional university with in-person lectures:

“I found out I was dyslexic in my third year of uni, and I thought it was wild I’d got so far. But then I realised I probably didn’t struggle with my work as much as I would at a physical university because of the recordings.”

Jodi explained that being able to re-watch parts of lectures, and ask questions in forums and WhatsApp groups where the answers are all recorded, helps make sure she doesn’t miss key information.

This is the second year running that Jodi has been shortlisted for the UCEM Apprentice of the Year award, and she credits last year’s nomination for delivering a huge boost to her confidence:

“After I was nominated last year, I was actually shortlisted for another award called Black Professionals in Construction (BPIC) and even though I didn’t win it was amazing to be in a room with people like the CEO of RICS and my MP from Lewisham”.

Jodi has been reflecting on the difference this sort of recognition can make:

“For so many years, I was trying really hard, but it was easy to feel deflated, especially as I now know I was struggling with my dyslexia, and I sometimes experience depression and anxiety. But after I got the first award nomination, I had this whole new drive to move forward and get more involved in promoting apprenticeships.

“So now I regularly share my experiences, whether that’s an interview or a presentation. In fact, I had someone on my project say they’d sent an interview I did to their niece, and they were now looking into joining my company and maybe even doing an apprenticeship at UCEM!”