Reflections from a Graduate Apprentice by Frasier Crouch

What apprenticeship did you study? 

I studied a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA), which enabled me to achieve a BA Honours in Business Studies and a CMI accreditation upon completion of my apprenticeship this year.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship route for your degree rather than attend university as a traditional student? 

I chose an apprenticeship over the traditional university route for several main reasons:

  1. I never wanted to go to university, as I was unsure of what I wanted to study.
  2. I didn’t see the benefit of studying for a degree for three years that may not be relevant to my future career choice.
  3. Saving for a property has always been a big goal of mine and I didn’t want to owe any money from attending university.
  4. And probably the most significant reason, I have always had a great passion for working, and I wanted to kickstart my career as early as possible. 

Why did you choose your specific subject? 

I chose a degree in Business Studies as I studied Business Studies at college, and I have always been keen to explore this area as it was a subject in which I excelled. Furthermore, this degree is accredited by the CMI, and I am passionate about learning and being recognised as a chartered manager. 

How did you find out about IRI’s apprenticeship, and what attracted you to it? 

I was actively looking at the time and found IRI’s apprenticeship via the Government’s apprenticeship website. IRI’s apprenticeship suited me and instantly I knew I had to apply. Not only was it perfectly located for me, both work and university. I also loved the job role and responsibilities. The main attraction for me was the diverse nature of the role. I had never worked in the FMCG industry before, and the apprenticeship linked both business and technology. 

What do you think a career at IRI will give you? 

A career at IRI will enable me to work with some of the best people within the FMCG industry and allow me to continue my development within the workplace. I have already built some incredible relationships with internal/external stakeholders, and IRI has offered me a platform to grow, both personally and professionally. IRI continues to grow and evolve, and it’s great to be part of a company that wants to challenge its technology.

My career at IRI so far has been life-changing.  I can envisage a career at IRI offering multiple opportunities to develop even further. IRI has been so supportive of my development and I have been able to map out my potential career plan and hopefully enrol myself onto a Senior Leader Managers Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA) later in the year.

What were your steepest learning curves during your apprenticeship at IRI? 

My two most significant learning curves at IRI were investing time into myself and taking ownership of my time. Working full-time, whilst studying for a degree was a lot more strenuous than I initially thought. I had to be self-disciplined and incredibly strict with my timings to ensure I met deadlines for work and university. I always believed that if I did little and often, I would manage to get through university, while fulfilling my work targets. With all of this going on, I quickly learnt that I had to look after myself.  At the start of my apprenticeship, I had no clear goal or objective, so I needed time to reflect and understand what I wanted to achieve. 

Why should someone consider an apprenticeship as the next step in their career?

I would highly recommend an apprenticeship with IRI for numerous reasons. The main reason would be that IRI is aspiring to deliver growth for its clients and itself. As a result, a great working culture challenges each individual, and as such, offers many opportunities. From a personal standpoint, apprenticeships are still relatively new inside the business, so there is a massive spotlight on them at the moment. This can easily elevate someone’s career within the company. 

What do you think is the future of big data and analytics?

I think the future for big data and analytics is endless. That may sound like a cliché, but the COVID pandemic has highlighted the importance of data and the fundamental role it plays in how businesses operate. One of my passions is remaining agile within my job, which is how the industry functions. You must be agile and continuously evolve to stay ahead of your competitors. The future is bright for the industry, and I can see AI and machine learning becoming a regular tool. Furthermore, as IRI is the leading customer shopper agency with five customer loyalty platforms, understanding shopper's behaviour will be a clear path to success for many years to come.



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