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NEWS > Careers > Arywen Morris PGS 2016 - 2023

Arywen Morris PGS 2016 - 2023

Six months into her Government Degree Apprenticeship as an Economist with the Department of Transport, Arywen has thrown herself into the role and is enjoying all the opportunities to get involved.
23 Apr 2024
Written by Arywen Morris
Careers
Arywen (centre) and her team with PN counting equipment
Arywen (centre) and her team with PN counting equipment

I had a real pinch me moment as I was flown out to Zurich recently with my team to attend the VERT PN Testing Conference. The conference brought together policy, scientists, politicians and analysts to discuss the importance of annual testing and future scientific developments in PN counting equipment.

PN2.5 is a dangerous pollutant, particularly harmful due to its size (less than 2.5 nanometers diameter), which allows it to enter the human bloodstream. These particulates mostly come from diesel vehicle exhaust fumes, which then pollute the air. Vehicles are fitted with diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in order to capture these particles before they can cause damage, however these parts are fragile and easily breakable. There is also an illicit market for DPF removal as they can limit engine performance.

As part of my work on MOT policy, my team and I are currently quantifying the costs and benefits of introducing PN testing as a major MOT item to identify damaged and removed DPFs and hugely benefit air quality. At the conference we heard insights from implementation in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, the rationale behind the decision to implement and the problems for the future such as gasoline particulate filters and wood burner filters.

If you had told me any of this during my time at Pate's, I would have been shocked! I was not expecting as an apprentice, to be looking at such complex and important issues, let alone important enough to be flown out to hear more about them! I have learnt and grown so much in just six months of being part of the programme. It shows that apprentices are taken as seriously as everyone else within Government. Being an apprentice has led to so many wonderful opportunities that I had never dreamed of before, and I could not be happier with my choice to join over the typical university route.

I chose to apply for the Government Economic Service Degree Apprenticeship Programme (GESDAP) because I wanted to get stuck into social change as early as I could after attending a summer school with effective altruists. This helped me to realise that my career should be something which would contribute to solving the problems which cause the most suffering in our lifetimes, such as poverty, disease and climate change. Luckily, I have been placed in a team where this is possible, as most of our focus recently has been on helping to transition to electric vehicles and mitigate the emissions from the remaining internal combustion engine vehicles.

I also applied to this programme because having work experience as well as a degree would help to eliminate the worry of not standing out in the graduate job market. My particular course guarantees a role after the apprenticeship ends. Of course, degree apprenticeships are financially smart, too. Being paid an extremely competitive salary (the same as the graduates who work with me) without the worry of student debt has meant I can travel and start to save for my future.

The apprenticeship is four years long, with the option of taking on a Master’s Apprenticeship afterwards for two years. I work four days a week in my role as an Apprentice Economist in the Department for Transport, and then on Friday I have my study day, where I attend online lectures with the University of Kent to earn a BSc in Professional Economics. There are also in-person study days once per trimester, and a week residential each year at the University of Kent campus, so you don’t miss out on the social elements of university!

The application process was after the university application deadline, so you can apply for both without having to worry about the overlap causing too much stress. The application process consists of two main stages - the personal statement and the assessment center.  The assessment center stage was conducted online and consisted of an interview, a presentation and a written assignment.

Some of the highlights of the apprenticeship so far have been this trip to Zurich, but also visiting the Houses of Parliament, getting involved in the Midlands Analyst Network and travelling to London frequently to visit my team and attend conferences and training. I am also a Social Mobility Ambassador, helping to inspire young people of low socio-economic backgrounds to aim high and present them with career options from a young age, which has been particularly rewarding. I also talk about apprenticeships to jobseekers and primary schools, am an Apprentice Rep at the University of Kent, plan away days, get stuck into key MOT and Freight policy analysis and so so much more! I would really recommend the programme to everyone considering Economics at university!

I can't wait to find out where this role takes me next, and I hope to see some more Pate's faces on the programme soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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