Testimonials Apps Layba Majid

Learner Testimonial — Layba, Business Analyst apprentice and T Level graduate

Our learner, Layba Majid, has gone from T Levels to a successful Apprenticeship with Lloyds Banking Group. This is her story.

“I’ve always wanted to get into IT but wasn’t sure what to do. Then I got into a time crunch; I had less than three weeks until the new academic year, so I rushed to pick something up, opportunities were closing…

“I didn’t research at all and didn’t realize I was applying for T Levels rather than A Levels! But, actually, it worked out. Even before college I’d made my mind up that uni is not for me. A few people I know told me they have uni and debt but no experience and no job, so I was always looking for alternatives, including Apprenticeships.

“I did a two-year T Level on Digital Support, Design, and Development, which consisted of Network Infrastructure and Networking. To complete the programme, I had to do work experience for a minimum of 45 days.

“I started with Marketing for an e-commerce company called PJM Digital, stayed there for 3 months. I was lucky because, after that, Lloyds reached out to my college, asking to have students for a brand-new course. I quickly sent my cover letter.

“During the summer holidays, I did 8 weeks with Lloyds focusing on Software Engineering, learning to code. Although I wanted to, I couldn’t stay, because I had to finish my second year of college. After doing so, I re-applied. Lloyds fast-tracked me to the Assessment Centre and straight into the Apprenticeship.”

Interestingly, Layba chose something completely different from her previous experience with Lloyds, Software Engineering – an 18-month Level 4 Business Analyst Apprenticeship.

“I wanted to start fresh with something brand-new where I can experiment and find out what I can do. Software Engineering was too technical; Networking was too structured. I felt neither was for me. I’m still trying to understand what Business Analysis is, what a BA in my department does, how Lloyds works with Business Analysts, but I’ve already picked up a lot of soft and tech skills.

“I went into the Apprenticeship knowing nothing about Business Analysis. I didn’t do any pre-learning at all, because I know the Apprenticeship will teach me everything. I just gave it a go and threw myself in the deep end.

“Before this, I just went from school to college; I’d never had a manager, responsibilities, deadlines. College is very different to a working environment.

“At first, I was really nervous. I didn’t know how to have conversations with my manager, for example, didn’t know anyone at Lloyds – and I had all these questions I didn’t know whom to ask. My team was really supportive though – they made me feel it’s OK to ask questions. Listening to their conversations also really helped – I started to pick things up and learning came naturally.

“The number one thing I’ve learned thus far is that you need to have a relationship with everyone on your team – as a BA, communication is key. You need to be able to reach out to everyone, as every team is different. How is everyone communicating? What are they like?

“Another challenge is prioritizing Firebrand over my work. I’ve learned to block out my calendar and review every month with my Firebrand Leaning Mentor, Hemang Rana. He goes through everything and makes sure I’m up to date with projects and time sheets, all the Firebrand necessities that need to be complete.

“I’m based in Bradford. We have a requirement to work two days per week as a minimum in our aligned Hub, which, for me, is Halifax, but I have the flexibility to go to Leeds too because my In-Work Mentor, who is also a Business Analyst, is based there. Every three months, I head to Wyboston for training.

“Initially, I didn’t realize I’d have the opportunity to do certifications as part of the Apprenticeship; now I think it’s really good, because it all builds up, adding to your tech skills, CV, or portfolio to showcase yourself. Other Apprenticeships recommend you get certified but don’t actually offer them – unlike Firebrand!”

So, would you recommend T Levels and Apprenticeships?

“I wasn’t sure what T Levels were when I first applied, but I would encourage everyone to do them. You have to work hard, but people help you. On T Levels, people will give you opportunities with companies. You don’t always have to start big – a small business is still better than nothing! You’re 16, no one’s going to hire you!

“Self-confidence is very important too. I know some people didn’t get on Apprenticeships because they were holding themselves back. Lloyds aren’t expecting you to know stuff beforehand but to show you’re engaged and put yourself out there. I know this can be hard, especially if you’re shy!

“T Levels are a great opportunity for people getting out of school. They’re like Apprenticeships, just with less hours in work. You will have a workplace. A Levels don’t give you the experience that T Levels do; with A Levels, you just do subjects, while my T Level, for example, is equivalent to 3 A Levels. If it wasn’t for T Levels, I would have no experience; I wouldn’t be at Lloyds now.

“Working at the e-commerce company, I wanted something bigger, which is when I found Lloyds. I knew I had to do my best for them to keep me. Lloyds is massive; I feel I could work here my entire life, in different departments, do different things and not get bored!

“I feel that, having done all this, I’m on the path to get where I want.”