Name: Jason Norris
University: University of Durham 2004 – 2007, BA Business Hons
Job Title: Graduate Apprentice
Jason was born & brought up in Devon, but after Durham, decided to stay in the West Midlands because of the varied and interesting work that exists there.
What do you actually do?
I’m going to spend one year following three diverse work placements within the professional services industry. The scheme has been developed by Birmingham Future, the young professionals networking organisation. The placements are with Deloitte in its International Tax Department, and then two SME’s: LMM which is a property management company, and 3Form, a creative design agency. The idea is to give me a wide ranging level of experience to be able to make an informed decision about my career upon completion of the scheme. As the only UK Graduate Apprentice, it also allows me fantastic exposure to the Birmingham and West Midlands Business Community, enabling me to build networks to benefit my future career. As I do not have a set career path yet, for me the aim is to make an informed decision about where I want to head, and I can only do that by ‘trying things out’. The Graduate Apprentice role gives me the chance to work for a corporate giant in Deloitte, as well as showing me the more personal side of a family-owned business. It enables me to compare the differences between how the two are run, and to learn about the complex relationships within SME’s. I can see how the large, corporate world would lead to a specific job role, whereas within a SME, the work is varied and job descriptions are constantly evolving. For me, my career is about being challenged, as traditionally it is the way in which I produce my best results. For me, it’s fantastic that I can come to work on a daily business and be working on real lifen projects, where my input makes a real difference. Being young and a recent graduate also means that I can sometimes have a new way of looking at old problems, which can produce interesting solutions, and this opportunity to establish myself is a unique one.
Why did you decide to stay in the West Midlands after graduation?
My partner is currently completing her LPC at the College of Law in Birmingham, and after she had studied at Birmingham University, we both decided that the city was a place where we wanted to establish our careers. To us, Birmingham offers the corporate, young professional lifestyle that we both desire, but at a cost of living that we can afford. Having both grown up in Devon, the opportunities available in a thriving city are fantastic, and now living in the Jewellery Quarter, our work/life balance is
fantastic, and to me, unrivalled by any other city. I am also passionate about the development of the city, and through Birmingham Future, take an active part in helping to shape the future of the city for young professionals.
How did you find out about this particularscheme?
The Graduate Apprentice programme is marketed by Birmingham Future through university career’s websites. The scheme is designed for a recent graduate (within the last three years), and as such, all advertising takes place through universities and Graduate Advantage. I was fortunate enough to have access to Birmingham university’s careers website where I first found out about the position. This then enabled me to find out more about the three placements.
What do you like the most about living in the West Midlands?
Living in the West Midlands offers the perfect balance of a professional working lifestyle with the opportunity to have an active personal lifestyle at the same time. With easy access to the city centre, and developed areas such as Brindley Place and the Mailbox, finding new things to do is never a problem. Birmingham’s Business Community, while compact, is fantastically diverse, and new opportunities are constantly evolving. The city is also extremely focused on development, and this is shown by the large amounts of residential and commercial building that is taking place. The city is an exciting place to be, and with fantastic links to the rest of the country, it’s easy for me to invite my friends from other regions.
Are there any donwsides to living in the West Midlands?
I am some distance from my family in Devon, but ultimately they are only a phone call away. I do think that the transport links need an urgent upgrade. I believe that thedevelopment of New Street Station is vital to the local economic growth, and am delighted it has now been given the go ahead. The West Midlands can also struggle to establish its identity, it’s not quite the North, not quite the South, and therefore ends up somewhere in the middle. While the cost of living is low in
comparison to London, I still believe there needs to be more affordable housing options within walking distance of the city centre.