Meet Jake


Apprentice Junior UX Researcher/Designer

Choosing an apprenticeship

What were you doing before you started your apprenticeship with us?

Before starting my apprenticeship, I’d been studying at college and working part-time in the hospitality sector for two years. I chose to leave my hospitality work in the February to focus on my college studies. I studied Graphic Design, Media and Games Design. After leaving college in May, I spent time completing independent-learning courses on a range of digital technologies and skills before starting at CDS in the September.

Why did you choose to take the apprenticeship route?

I chose creative subjects in college and loved the practical learning/projects far more than the theory-based learning and exams in high school. Acknowledging this really helped influence my decision to go for an apprenticeship rather than studying full time at university. I felt I’d be able to gain hands-on experience, in a real working environment, better suited to my learning style.

So far, what have been the benefits of choosing an apprenticeship?

I’ve loved being able to work on real projects, applying my learning to real life scenarios. Whilst university is great for learning the theory of your subject, being able to apply it to projects and see the difference you’re making in the real world is the most fulfilling part.

What did your family or friends think about you choosing an apprenticeship route?

My family have been so supportive of me and saw what a brilliant opportunity an apprenticeship is. They really understood that it’s a good way to gain skills in a real work environment. When discussing with my friends who chose to go to university, they’re jealous of not going for an apprenticeship instead!

Your role at Bailie Group

What does your role involve?

My role explores the world of UX (User Experience), learning about how users interact with the world around them, and what we can do to create this interaction as positive and enjoyable as possible. Working as a researcher and designer, I’m getting exposure to both sides of UX. Things like, how to design an effective experience and testing our hypotheses with real users through a variety of methods such as interviews, surveys, usability testing and even new eye-tracking technology (my favourite method!).

What projects are you working on that involves you liaising/working with colleagues across your team or wider business?

I’d say it’s harder to find a project that doesn’t involve teamwork! It’s always important to discuss your ideas with someone and it’s really benefitted my learning by being able to bounce my ideas off people, especially as they have plenty of experience in these areas.

How does your day-to-day work link to the apprenticeship that you're completing?

My apprenticeship involves a Level 6 university course, so I’ve really enjoyed being able to take my theories learnt in class and apply them to real projects. Recently, we worked on an accessibility project that explored how users with different impairments navigated a website, and how their assistive technology aided them to complete the tasks. Having learnt about accessibility in my class the week before, it was really enjoyable being able to see the ideas discussed actually in motion!

What support are you getting from your team and wider business?

The support I’ve received has been second-to-none. We have monthly 1:2:1s to monitor my progress, and no matter how stupid a question I think I’ve asked, my team has been more than happy to explain it to me.

Overall Thoughts

Would you recommend the apprenticeship route to others?

Absolutely! I can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed starting my apprenticeship. I’m working on real projects and seeing the difference I’m making to the people around me (plus that paycheck at the end of the month is always a morale booster!).

Three words to describe your Bailie Group apprenticeship?

  1. Unique
  2. Supportive
  3. Exciting
people working in office

Meet our apprentices

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