• Name
  • Job Title and Employer
    Economist Degree Apprentice
  • Employer
    Department for Energy Security & Net Zero
  • Provider
    University of Kent
  • Levels
    Level 6 (Degree) Apprenticeship
  • Training Provider and Qualification
    Professional Economist Level 6 Degree at University of Kent
  • Occupations
    Computing, technology and digital
  • Apprenticeship Start Date
    Sep 2022
  • Skills Gained
    Data Analysis Policy Writing Delivering at pace Problem solving Communication
GetMyFirstJob Ambassador

Hello, I Am Muaadh

Tell us more about your experience

During my time in sixth-form, apprenticeships were not widely embraced within the cultural fabric of my school’s community. Peers, teachers, and parents predominantly focused on the prestigious Ivy League, Oxbridge, and Russell Group universities, which were considered the default norm. This mindset was reinforced by the remarkable achievements of the cohort above me, who received five Ivy League scholarship offers worth $320,000 each. Consequently, the support and exposure to apprenticeships was limited, and my sole insight to apprenticeships came through my brother, Umayr Tanveer, who achieved exceptional success, earning awards and contributing to high-profile projects at BT. His accomplishments served as a motivation for me to apply to apprenticeships. 

Whilst reflecting on my A-level journey, I realised a common thread that intrigued me – the captivating transition from theoretical concepts to their real-world applications. For instance, I had gone beyond the confines of the physics curriculum to explore the connection between destructive interference in wave superposition and noise-cancelling headphones. I also delved into the application of behavioural economics in the pricing strategies of the airline industry and the utilisation of calculus to optimise operational management. It became evident that I thrived when theories were applied within a practical context, which increasingly drew me towards the apprenticeship route.

Although I possessed the grades necessary to attend Oxford or Cambridge, I was hesitant to pursue the university route for multiple reasons. Through conversations with current apprentices, I came to appreciate that the benefits extended well beyond gaining "hands-on experience." Apprenticeships offered opportunities to refine essential skills such as rapid decision-making, negotiation, and industry-specific knowledge, which are often challenging to master in a university environment. The financial advantages of an apprenticeship were clear: no student debt, university expenses covered, and a full-time wage. In addition, I found the prospect of burdening my family financially uneasy and the interest bearing student loan was unsuitable for me due to my faith. 

Ultimately, the appeal of an apprenticeship far outweighed that of a traditional university education, and I now find myself as an economist degree apprentice, channeling my passion for data science to drive impactful solutions in the realm of energy efficiency. 

Can you describe your job and what you do on a day-to-day basis? 

I work in the field of economics, focusing on model development where I contribute to the application of data-driven decision-making to optimise policies. I have a strong passion for technology and have proactively pursued courses in deep learning, machine learning, and Python 3. On a day-to-day basis, I work on various projects that combine my technological skills with economic knowledge. For example, in the realm of energy efficiency, I’ve programmed scripts to simulate the optimal combination of retrofit measures, created data visualisations on heat-loss, simulated economic outputs for high-profile policies etc. 

What has been the highlight of your career so far? 

The highlight of my career so far has been the opportunity to lead the economic appraisal for a project bid in the automotive sector's R&D grant funding program. This experience allowed me to collaborate directly with automotive industry partners and make insightful recommendations that were endorsed by senior economists. It was a challenging and rewarding endeavour that required comprehensive analysis, and judgment on key assumptions such as risk, additionality, and CO2 savings. Being entrusted with such a crucial responsibility and having my recommendations acknowledged and supported by senior experts was a significant achievement for me. It not only validated my skills and expertise but also provided a platform to contribute to the evaluation of projects with a focus on value-for-money assessments. 

What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far? 

A challenge I have faced so far is maintaining confidence as an apprentice. Entering a field where I had to navigate the complexities of economics, data science, and decision-making, I often felt the pressure of comparing myself to more experienced professionals and doubting my own abilities. As an apprentice, there can be a constant fear of not measuring up or feeling like an imposter in a role surrounded by knowledgeable experts. The learning curve can be steep, and it's natural to encounter setbacks and make mistakes along the way. 

What sort of support network do you have at your company? 

At my company, we have a strong support network that includes development chats, university check-ins, and department networks. Personally, I've found the Econ Muslim Apprentice Network at university to be really helpful. It provides a supportive community where I can connect with like-minded individuals and seek advice specific to my background. 


What will happen at the end of your apprenticeship and have you discussed this with your employer? 

Upon completion of the government economist apprenticeship programme, and subject to successfully passing our degree, my department has confirmed that we will be offered a full-time economist role at a higher grade. 

What would be your words of advice to someone thinking about doing an apprenticeship? 

My advice to prospective apprentices is to be proactive and apply to as many roles of your interest as possible - apply, apply and apply! The apprenticeship space has gotten very competitive over the years, and this trend doesn't seem to be changing. So, the best way to stack the odds in your favour is to broaden your remit of applications. Additionally, for incoming apprentices I would advise seeking feedback at every opportunity, learning from your mistakes and remaining confident. Working at a young age whilst being surrounded by seniors is an achievement in itself, so don't be discouraged by the challenges that come with it. Stay determined and embrace the learning journey. 

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