Jasmine Thomas (Jaz) joined our team in September 2023 as our first Degree Apprentice at LanciaConsult. So far, it's been a blast, and we're so happy she's here. Want to know how Jaz is getting on? Check out her interview on life at Lancia, apprenticeships, and consulting from our Bristol office.
Q: What made you want to join LanciaConsult as an apprentice?
A: I wanted to continue my studies after college; however, I knew I didn't want to go to University for the next 3 / 4 years. During my gap year, I experienced working in a professional environment. I preferred this to an educational setting. From this experience, I decided that the apprenticeship route would be the best for me, studying towards a degree whilst spending most of my time in the workplace and gaining valuable practical experience. LanciaConsult's working environment and ethos were the first things that attracted me to the company. The positivity and supportive environment LanciaConsult fosters and actively drives made me excited to be a part of it. Their social media posts and website showed both the work they were doing for their clients and charities, the fun they were having doing this and the impact they were having. I saw this and decided I wanted to join this dynamic company and evolving industry.
Q: How did you come across the opportunity?
A: I found this opportunity through a career fair. During my gap year, I had asked my mum to keep an eye out for exciting opportunities. She spoke to Robbie, a Managing Consultant at LanciaConsult, who explained who LanciaConsult were, the role of a consultant and how the apprenticeship would work. I then explored their social media and website to learn more about what they did and who they were, as this was the first I had heard of them.
Q: How did you find the process of applying?
A: Easy to do. I submitted my CV and a cover letter, then had a phone call with the head of talent to learn more about me and why I wanted to join LanciaConsult. I was then asked to come to an assessment day in the office, where we were given a tour and introduced to the team. This was an excellent opportunity to ask questions about life at LanciaConsult and what being a consultant entailed. We then had a group activity and a 1:1 interview with one of the more experienced team members. This was another chance to ask any questions and demonstrate how my current skills may be helpful as a consultant. I enjoyed this entire process; the communication was clear and swift, allowing me to interview LanciaConsult as much as they were interviewing me.
Q: Were there any reservations you had about doing an apprenticeship?
A: I was concerned about the workload as I realised that studying for a degree would be challenging enough without adding work onto that as well, given the course was only 1 year more than a full-time student course. The team at LanciaConsult have equipped me with the knowledge and skills to help manage this workload. They are very supportive in any aspect of work or study that I may need help with. If the workload became too much, I would be able to talk to my workplace mentor, and he would help me manage this. I was also apprehensive about being the only apprentice. To avoid this feeling, I started LanciaConsult at the same time as their graduate intake in September. This meant that I was one of many new people at LanciaConsult. I was also given the opportunity to visit their other European offices, which helped me get to know the team I would be working with and settle any nerves. Regarding University, I was worried about going to a new city alone. However, this allowed me to make new friends and build my support system as they are going through similar experiences in their workplace.
Q: What has your experience of the apprenticeship been so far?
A: I love it. I enjoy the work/study balance as I can apply what I've learned at Uni directly to my work. The two weeks a year at University have been fun, as it's not all study. I can go out with my friends in the evenings and enjoy a bit of Uni life. The connections I have made over these two weeks will stay with me for life. I can build great networking connections as apprentices from over 30 different companies across the UK are on my course. The balance of exams and coursework is perfect. They are equally weighted and have been open-book so far, so it's testing your skills and knowledge rather than just a memory test.
The best part has been joining the LanciaConsult team. It's a great environment to work in, as everyone loves to help, and it's not just work. I have been to many social events, from popping to the pub after work to celebrate a good working day to the Christmas quiz night. I am especially looking forward to the LanciaConsult annual weekend away. I have heard it is the best weekend of the year, with the entire European team invited to celebrate the year on LanciaConsult's birthday.
Q: How did you find the 'Landing at Lancia' introduction to the team and consulting?
A: LAL was fun. That's the best way I can describe it. A full two weeks of introductions and entertainment with the whole team. Every lunch and evening, there was a planned event, whether it be a cocktail-making masterclass, a meal out or darts and bowling. We started in Bristol for week 1, then travelled to Belfast to meet their team for another week.
While the events were the highlight, I also appreciated the time the team took to upskill myself and the graduates. It was a full-on two weeks of learning about some of the highlights of client work, from practical presentation skills to core consulting skills we would need to start a job we had little to no experience doing. It was a fantastic experience, a little tiring at times, but worth it to build connections with the team and prepare for life as a consultant.
Q: How would you describe the culture at LanciaConsult so far?
A: Everyone is supportive and invested in the company and each other. People love to hear how your work is going, but also how your life is going. The reflective culture drives constant professional and personal development. When you start LanciaConsult, you are matched with a LIFT coach who supports you to reach your goals and will be with you as you progress through the company. There is also a culture of fun and maintaining your work-life balance, which is essential for physical and mental well-being.
Q: What are you excited about in the short, medium, and long term about joining LanciaConsult as an apprentice?
A: In the short term, I am excited to get all the coursework and exams out the way for this year so I can be ready for the LC weekend away and get stuck into client work full time.
After that, I look forward to the next intake of apprentices this September. I can help them settle in and connect apprentice to apprentice. I am also returning to Uni for a week in September and meeting my Uni mates again.
In the long term, I am looking forward to starting the modules of the course that count towards my degree, as the first year is structured to give you an introduction to the course and set the baseline foundation skills needed for the modules that will start to contribute to your final grade.
Q: How would you sum up the LanciaConsult vibe in 3 words?
A: Vibrant, Supportive and Fun.
Q: What is your favourite thing about the Bristol office?
A: The team's diversity makes the office an exciting place to be. Everyone has their own story and unique thinking that makes the office fun.
Want to be our 2024 Degree Apprentice? Find all the details about this unique opportunity with LanciaConsult and the University of Exeter in the downloadable 2-pager here.