1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Job Title: Cross-Functional Apprentice At Cisco the apprenticeship program is a cross-functional role, meaning that we can move throughout the business. We are free to complete technical and non-technical roles ranging from sales to project management. I have personally been taking a more technical route and would like to work towards a job in some form of engineering role after the end of the program. On a day to day basis, all roles vary.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
In the first year, all apprentices are expected to complete their CCNA certification. Everyone is given the option to continue from there pursuing either a CCNP certification or another certification which is more relevant to their job role such as a project management certification. We also complete a degree in Digital and Technology Solutions throughout the three years of the program. This is provided by QA Apprenticeships and accredited by University of Roehampton. We are always encouraged to develop our professional and business skills such as presenting.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I feel extremely comfortable in my role at Cisco, all staff in the company are always happy to help and aid our learning as apprentices. Whilst Cisco as a business has been fantastic I have found some elements of the degree from QA disorganized. However, I was somewhat expecting this as to my understanding it is the first year QA have run a full degree apprenticeship program.
4. How valued do you feel by Cisco?
Cisco constantly strives to make us feel valued as employees, we are provided with all of the benefits of a conventional employee including healthcare, life insurance, pensions, etc. Our manager is constantly available to deal with issues and help work through them to achieve a positive outcome.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The start of the program has a lengthy introduction to get us used to the company and how the program will work. Training with QA is sometimes badly organized, for example, different dates being sent to different members of our team for training sessions which then require quiring with QA to ensure we have all the correct dates.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Our training provider is QA, For the most part, the experience with QA has been positive. However, at times I have found the course disorganized and disjointed. QA have assured us they are continuously working to improve the course and I believe this to be true. They constanly take our feedback on what they should be doing better and often implement changes quickly.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Cisco supports us constantly, there are two apprenticeship managers in the company who are constantly there to answer questions and help us with any challenges we have throughout the program. The general attitude of everyone I have met in the company has been positive, with everyone wanting to help us achieve any goals we may have whilst part of the program.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The current pay for a first-year apprentice is £15,500 per year before tax. Keeping in mind the value of the degree and all other benefits from working at Cisco such as pension plans and private healthcare. If I was not at Cisco I would currently be accumulating debt at university so I see not having this debt as a massive positive.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Cisco offers all employees 5 paid days of volunteering on top of their 25 days holiday, meaning we can take time out to help a charity or other organizations without taking our on holidays to do so. Every quatre each department has a budget to run an event of their choice, this time is often used as some form of team building activity which allows colleagues to get to one another far better than they do at work. All employees in the company are friendly and I have found that many teams run their own events outside of business hours.
9. Would you recommend Cisco to a friend?
The Cisco apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity to get a job in on of the largest tech companies in the world. The broad range of areas apprentices can work in means that everyone can develop new skills to advance their careers in IT. Going to work every day and being alongside some of the most talented people in the IT industry is a fantastic opportunity which should not be missed.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Cisco?
I would recommend that people understand/request information on what the degree entails before applying to the program. I am personally very happy with the technical degree as I want to work in a technical role in the future. However, the roles we are offered vary and can be non-technical leaving some people on the non-technical routes feeling that the degree is not relevant to their role.
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