Hoda Al Halfi is a first-year project management apprentice at Transport for London. In our new series we go behind the scenes of her apprenticeship and find out what it's really like to be a TfL apprentice.
What did you study?
I enjoyed studying biology, chemistry and french, I was always thinking about going to university and studying a science.
Did you want to go to university?
I had pressure from my teachers to submit my application and pressure at home to continue studying the field of science. I was going to have to apply to university and go just like everyone else. It’s the norm. And that’s exactly what I did; I applied to study Biomedical Sciences without the real intention of going.
Did you go to uni?
I went to uni, thinking it’s going to be fine, even if I don’t like it, it’s only a few years... Here’s the funny bit, I went for two weeks and WITHDREW!
What happened next?
I was working part-time as a retail advisor over the summer and my manager had contacted me with the opportunity to continue. I was offered a full-time position and accepted it. I wanted to make the most of my year.
Then, I started exploring my options, something colleges/schools don’t really advise me on, and I came across apprenticeships. Learning and earning was highly appealing to me. I am a practical person and believe it’s more beneficial to implement what you learn rather than just reading and learning through books.
What pleased you most about apprenticeships?
At first like many, I had the misconception that apprentices were paid really low wages and weren’t really treated like permanent employees. But I was glad to see Higher Apprenticeship Schemes, equivalent to studying at university level with great pay and experience.
Who are TfL?
Transport for London keeps London working and growing for those who visit and live in the Capital. Virtually everyone who visits, lives or works in London will use at least one of their services.