1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Software Developer with in an Agile development team. Primarily involves writing Java code. We have daily Stand-Up meetings to discuss what we did the day before, what we are doing today and any blockers. I am responsible for particular service within my project and as such primarily work on that, adding functionality and fixing bugs.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have earn't two Level 4 Diplomas. I have gained hands-on Java programming skills as well as learning a range of associated technologies and methodologies including mySQL, Database Design,Test Driven Development, Testing etc.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The first year and a half I did not particularly enjoy as I was working on teams that did not understand what 'Apprentice' meant and did not have the time to fully support me, often leaving me to feel like a spare part. The last year has been very positive I have been on a very supportive and experience team who have me to develop to the point of making real contributions and taking on real responsibilities.
4. How valued do you feel by CGI?
Within my immediate team I feel very valued. However on a BU and company-wide scale it is hard not to feel like cheap labor, particularly as I am completing tasks at a level way above my Career Level and pay-grade.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Poor communication in the beginning. Only about half of the training provided has actually been useful. No mentor system that I'm aware of. The timing of the courses was well planned with decent gaps between them and the most relevant courses being taken at the beginning of the programme.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Not much beyond tutor responding to queries about assessments. One tutor was very supportive and made time to explain things further to us if need be. Workplace assessors could have done more to seem like genuine advisers rather than people to just fill out mandatory paperwork.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Initially poor. Very dependent on the team I was in and how busy they were. Fixed price projects not good for apprentices as very fixed deadlines means there can be an "every man for themselves" attitude where people don't feel like they have time to help less experienced team members. Current project is very good. I think there should be a guidance document produced to be given to projects taking on apprentices which actually explains the scheme and the level of work and supervision needed.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Started out poor but did improve after 2 years. Within the specific industry I work in it is not very competitive. My living costs are well covered currently as I am living at home, however were I to move out I would be pushed to cover costs and still be able to save for the future.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
The social aspects of CGI are very good. Plenty of opportunities to network and costs are covered by the company. Sports and Social clubs are very good. My office lacks any community/volunteering opportunities however. Yearly European Football tournament is excellent.
9a. Would you recommend CGI to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Good starting company. Very people focused with excellent social opportunities. Growing and expanding all the time. Friendly approachable senior management.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to CGI? *
Be confident, focus on the people skills you have and what extracurricular activities you have taken part in such as volunteering. They care more about whether you will fit into the company culture than what technical skills you have. Programming can be taught, fitting into the culture cannot.
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