I’ve just finished the final year of my apprenticeship scheme and submitted my last assignment towards my degree. I’m now waiting for my results (which I should hopefully receive in March) but technically, I’m not really an apprentice anymore and I’m now a full-time Analyst. Everyone says the hard work starts now, but I’m really looking forward to the future and want to start picking up more responsibility and learn even more.
I joined the Accenture Degree Apprenticeship scheme back in August 2017, which feels like a lifetime ago now. I would say that I have learnt so much, especially on the job, and I think that’s because I can apply what I’ve learnt in real business situations.
Since starting my apprenticeship I’ve worked on two client projects. My first project role was as a developer but after a while I felt that I wasn’t being challenged enough, so I asked to be rotated to another role and I’ve been on that for about two years now. It’s brilliant for me because there’s a cybersecurity focus to my work, and my back-up plan (if I hadn’t joined Accenture) was to do a cybersecurity degree. So in that respect it’s worked out perfectly for me, as I’m now learning and applying cybersecurity on the job and that’s certainly an area I would like to move into as my career progresses. Now that my final degree assignment is done, I’m going to do some self-training in cybersecurity and speak to my manager about potentially doing some more qualifications. That’s one of the great things about working at Accenture, if you want to upskill or do qualifications, they will make it happen for you and provide all the help and support you need to achieve this.
“I think it’s so important that young people understand all their options when considering their future”
I’m also Newcastle’s Apprenticeship Ambassador and I help the National Apprenticeship Service by visiting schools to speak to young people about what apprenticeships can offer. I’m incredibly proud of this role as I think it’s so important that young people understand all their options when considering their future. When I was at school the focus was most certainly on going to university and no one ever came to speak to me about apprenticeships. I do enjoy speaking with young people and sharing with them that university is not the only option – you can get a degree whilst working and earning. I just think there are so many opportunities for young people going into the world of work that they might not know about, and if I can help to open their eyes (even if it’s just one person) I’m proud of that.
Normally for National Apprenticeship Week, I’d be in schools with the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network (YAAN) North East and talking to young people about my experiences and discussing their options but right now, with Covid-19, that’s not possible. However, we have moved everything online and are trying to get as many young people as possible signed up for some digital events. For these, I’ve been preparing some short videos that answer different questions I tend to get asked (you can watch one of these videos here). I’m also talking about how I applied to be an apprentice and providing some hints and tips on the recruitment process.
One of my top tips for young people is take the time to understand your weaknesses – I even struggle with that as it’s hard to be self-critical! But this is something that seems to crop up more and more in the recruitment process and it’s important to recognise not only what you’re good at but where you need improvement. When I’m out talking to young people I always suggest they go and do some sort of personality/strengths test to help identify any weakness and then look at what they can do to improve or overcome it. For example, if I were asked what my weakness was, I’d say it’s X but I’m doing Y and Z to improve on it. I think that speaks volumes to an interviewer when you’re applying for jobs, but it will also help you develop and grow throughout your career.
If you’re ready for the world of work, you can find out more and apply for our Technology Degree Apprenticeships via our website
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