Matt shares his story for National Apprenticeships Week 2020

How Matt, a Data Services Manager, is learning on and off the job with an apprenticeship.

Matt Durrant has been a Data Services Manager since 2018 at North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative (NOE CPC), which is hosted by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Matt shares his development journey.

My academic history

I was always interested in computers – I really wanted to be cool and wanted to study something cool so I started studying English and Japanese at Leeds University and even got the chance to spend a year in Tokyo. But, it turned out that I’m not very good at Japanese and ended up dropping out of the course in 2011.


I became a copywriter for an office supplies wholesaler in 2013 but my interest in computers was still there and so I started to build tools in Excel and focus on data management, moving to NOE CPC as a data analyst in 2016. I went on a course and became a self-taught developer working my way up to become Data Services Manager in 2018.

The problem

Being self-taught means you don’t know what you don’t know – everything is online but you need to understand what to look for. Also, very importantly, you need exposure to understand the latest technologies and trends and you need to know what your peers are doing to improve your own work.

The apprenticeship

Our team were sent some information about apprenticeship opportunities which led me to finding out more and I was able to enrol on a Masters Degree course in September 2019 – an MSc Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist course at Sheffield Hallam University. It covers 5 modules over 2 years including development, cloud services, project planning and across a wide range of ‘Knowledge, Skills and Benefits (KSBs)’.

20% of my work week is spent on “off-the-job training”. It’s more than 8 years since I finished university so it was exciting to be back on a campus for my first block week and I really enjoyed taking some time away from work to concentrate on pure study. I have learned about modern software development, architecture and testing and have had the chance to use collaborative tools to create a realistic web app in a small team. I’ve also been able to analyse our team processes, study development processes like Scrum and have used cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services.

There are 17 of us on the course and I like the fact that we have a range of abilities. I’m somewhere in the middle! It’s amazing to learn from people who are more experienced than me, while passing my knowledge on to those who are just starting out.


  • the opportunity to study alongside my peers in my chosen field
  • getting involved in expert discussion about the latest trends in software engineering
  • exposure to new ideas, and re-examining what I already knew
  • implementing all this new knowledge into my day job instantly
  • a proper Masters, fully-funded, while I earn my normal salary
  • a chance to prove what I know

I never thought I would get this type of opportunity. My mind has been blown! I’ve already learned so many new ideas that I’m putting into practice at work. When I’ve got my Masters Degree it will prove that I know what I’m talking about and it could potentially open up new avenues for me!


Apprenticeships with the Trust

Feel inspired by Matt’s story? Apprenticeships are a training route that enable staff to gain a free work related qualification alongside their current role.

There are a huge range of apprenticeships available for all staff from Business Administration or Health and Social Care through to degrees up to Masters in Senior Leadership.

For further information contact or speak to Michelle Wood, Apprenticeship Officer, on 0113 85 58444.