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Meet our Apprentice

Sophie Osborne, an apprentice at Rolls Royce, spoke to us about her experience on the Project Manager Degree Apprenticeship

Name: Sophie Osborne

Employer: Rolls Royce

    Sophie Osborne, Sophie Osborne, Project Manager Degree Apprentice, Rolls Royce

"the lecturers have a genuine interest in our day to day work at Roll-Royce, as they are always curious to learn about how we work and the projects we are involved in."


Project Manager Degree Apprenticeship

How long did you study with the University of Cumbria?

I began my degree in September 2018. However, I am not based at the University campus as I am a Project Management Degree Apprentice at Rolls-Royce, so the University lecturers visit us once a week instead for a full day of lectures.

Do you feel studying here has benefited you?

Studying with the University of Cumbria definitely has its benefits, as not only are we studying for our degree, but we also have gained a University Certificate in Project Controls and received our Project Management Qualification (PMQ) from the APM. Both of which we had achieved in our first year of studying with Cumbria! The lecturers are also very supportive when it comes to University work and assignments, providing constructive feedback so we know how to improve our work and gain the most knowledge from the modules. I also feel like the lecturers have a genuine interest in our day to day work at Roll-Royce, as they are always curious to learn about how we work and the projects we are involved in.

Has studying changed the way you work/ approach your own role? 

Having had no formal project management training before joining Rolls-Royce, studying the subject has definitely shaped the way that I work. Depending on the area that you are in, it is helpful to apply the content learnt in lectures to tasks we undertake as we can demonstrate we have an understanding in that area. Also, by completing our study it allows for us to have a background understanding of project management topics before we embark on them in the workplace, which allows for us to understand the theory behind the science.

What benefit has higher education brought to your organisation?

As we move attachments throughout the apprenticeship, I have asked my current and previous line manager their thoughts on the benefit of having higher education studies in Rolls-Royce.

My first line manager stated the benefits being:

  • Energy and enthusiasm
  • Enhanced Computer/IT skills
  • Innovative ideas
  • They are the future of the company

Some feedback from my current line manager:

  • Highly skilled individuals – up to date / progressive technical expertise
  • Innovation – new, fresh and exciting perspectives and ideas
  • Critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Digital / business skills (presentation PowerPoint, Excel etc…)
  • Programmes such as the Higher Apprenticeship Programmes offer both technical knowledge and experience, and it’s the combination of both knowledge and experience which help individuals transition and be effective in their first substantive roles.  I personally value experience just as much as gaining technical qualifications
  • Often Higher Education can result in highly transferable skills which helps both the individual and the organisation with the flexibility and agility of what skills are required for current and future roles in the organisation
  • Individuals often have greater access to broader networks and resources
  • Demonstrates a level of commitment from the individual in gaining their technical qualification.

Any other comments?

When I first started, the idea of having a full-time job and completing a degree at the same time was a little daunting. However, I feel that the University of Cumbria has an understanding of this and although there are times where it can be hard to juggle everything, there has never been a time that I have felt overwhelmed with it all. In fact, being busy all the time is definitely one of the perks of this route!


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