January 31, 2019
You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great
By: Kathryn Pearce

Hiya, my name is Kathryn and I am a Network Engineering Degree Apprentice student at Accenture, or I am now, let’s start at the beginning.

Two years ago, I was like most students studying their A levels, no clue what I wanted for breakfast, let alone a career. While my peers were on university visits and writing their personal statements, I hesitated over the whole ideal of further education. Despite this I did fill out my UCAS application, but perhaps I applied for the wrong subject. As my final exams neared I realised it might have been an oversight on my part committing to spend the next three years of my life studying Geology, and subsequently started investigating other options…

Discovering degree apprenticeships was a breakthrough. I was astonished to find a company would actually pay my university fees and on top of that, a salary! My next decision was a hard one, what to study? I was amazed by the number of subjects on offer, from nursing to legal services, aerospace to construction. There was too much choice. I finally concluded that engineering, specifically networks, was where I would begin.

I was convinced the application process was a test, designed to catch me out for not knowing how to convert my CV from a word document to a PDF. Following this the next stage was an online situational strengths test, something I was all too familiar with after scanning Google for practice questions for what felt like days. The penultimate task, I was invited to the Accenture offices in London for my first ever interview. Finally, the day came for my trip to the city. I remember feeling overwhelmed with nerves. ‘What if I forget my answer? Will they ask me a curve ball question? Am I prepared for this?’ were the thoughts circulating on a loop in my head. Luckily, the experience wasn’t anywhere nearly as terrifying as the practice interview my parents conducted beforehand. I made it to the final stage of the application process, the assessment centre. I wasn’t feeling nearly as nervous this time round having already visited the Accenture offices. The morning was structured with a group exercise, HR and technical interview. I went home at the end of the day feeling proud of myself, having got through the application process regardless of the end result. I learnt how to write a CV and prepare for a job interview, something I would never have experienced had I not applied.

Now two years later, I couldn’t be more pleased with the decisions I made leading up to today. I’m now working on a project for an international telecoms company. Day to day, I’m working in discovery of the client’s apps and infrastructure. Following the assessment of my findings, servers will either be virtualised, decommissioned or remained as is. I knew nothing about infrastructure before starting, but I sure know a lot now, and I’m constantly learning more. You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Outside of work, I enjoy sporting activities such as netball, cycling and horse riding. I’m an enthusiastic baker (not always successful) and I have attempted to make a few things for the office.

Want to know more about Apprenticeship schemes at Accenture? Find out more here.

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