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Mubin Chachia: degree apprenticeship in software engineering

Mubin Chacia, degree apprenticeship in software engineering

It was a friend’s idea that first prompted Mubin to consider a degree apprenticeship. The option of working and learning at the same time felt like an ideal option. Now about to embark on his final year of the four-year degree apprenticeship with Manchester Metropolitan University, Mubin was one of the first people to take up the course with Thales’ Ground Transportation Systems business, describing himself as a ‘willing guinea pig’. 

By partnering employers with students, the degree apprenticeship offers the twinned approach of working and learning, in the lead up to a full-time career. Each year Mubin covers four distinct topics, dividing up the week with four days at Thales and the remaining day at university. This balancing act between his work and university commitments has proved a challenge and a valuable learning curve as he prepares for a full-time job.

“I have had to learn how to juggle my academic work with four days in the office, though Thales has always acknowledged that university comes first. They give me the time and support to complete my course work, and having people I can speak to in the office has been really valuable for my course.”

Mubin’s placements over the past three years have included working on the National Rail Enquires website (known as the ‘Online Journey Planner’), the Manchester Metrolink tram service, and a Revenue Management project where he is still part of the 24/7 on-call team. He has also worked on the world’s biggest signalling upgrade of its kind, the Four Lines Modernisation (4LM) across London Underground’s Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. He is currently working on the Darwin project, which is the data engine for all the UK’s train running information.

Looking to the future, Mubin hopes to join Thales’ development team, using his software engineering expertise to work on a mixture of projects. To secure a full-time role he will need a 2:1 degree, and he can use his first-hand experience to demonstrate why he is an ideal match for Thales.

“The majority of technical and business basics I have already picked up from working at Thales over the past three years. And while it can get hectic with time management, as long as you check your emails and let people know where you are, you should be alright. When you are working in a team everyone expects a bit from each other, and the degree apprenticeship course has definitely made me more professional.”

Many of Mubin’s friends are just graduating, and are envious that he has been working for three years, and is also free from student debt. This is just one argument in support of a degree apprenticeship course. So what are Mubin’s recommendations for others starting their application?

“Be confident when you make your application, and show that you are eager to learn. Then when you start it is all about time management. I will be finishing university next year, aged 22, with all this experience. That is not something I could have taken from a traditional university course.”   

Mubin and Thales are transforming Britain’s journeys.