1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
As a Support Engineering Apprentice, my day-to-day tasks include: scoping issues that the customer has found with their system, troubleshooting their issues using a variety of resources and then reporting back to them with the solution. If the solution does not work, then I will troubleshoot again till the correct solution is found. 1 day per week I am able to complete coursework from the training provider QA.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have built up skills on how large organisations work, and how collaboration in the workplace. In regards to internal training, there are a variety of courses I am allowed to take part in, including MOS and MTA qualifications, but also major training events where I can learn how to use a new/current product or technology effectively.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme is great as it enables you to join into on of the largest technology companies worldwide, and they actually treat you as an employee, not a coffee maker! Starting in the organisation along with around 40 other apprentices, there are plenty of people going through the same stages as you in their career, allowing you to grow and bounce off of one another.
4. How valued do you feel by Microsoft?
I feel very valued by Microsoft, in terms of within the team, but also as an employee as a whole. Apprentices are classed as full time employees, allowing us to gain benefits such as staff discounted products, and a variety of training courses to further technical development. You are placed into the world of work with a whole network of people around you to help and develop you in your early career stages.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
We work on a 70-20-10 basis. This is where 70% of my time is based on my job. This means working within my team, gaining technical and soft skills to further my knowledge and taking cases. The 20% of my time is based solely around QA Training. This may be off on training courses, or completing coursework (as stated above, I have one day per week that I designate to completing coursework). For the final 10%, this is for personal development and apprentice activities. This consists of personal training, or even going into schools to talk about what we do as Microsoft apprentices.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The support from our training provider is very, very limited. For instance emails regarding issues you are facing and needing support could take weeks to clarify. The tutor should come in every 6 weeks to help with issues and regarding the general path of the course, but these meetings tend to be delayed by a couple of weeks, or told that they are happening at the very last second.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Support internally is much better, where most likely anyone you contact will have an answer to your question, or at least point you in the general direction of where you will find the answer. From both my manager and my team here at Microsoft, training and documentations to help me develop within my working role is constantly given to me, allowing me to build the technical knowledge needed.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary meets the basic needs as expected with an apprenticeship scheme. Due to the office being based in Reading, my travel costs equate to just under half of my yearly salary (with a yearly ticket). As for daily costs, food prices are subsided within cafeteria area in the Reading office, as well as a coop store on-site, but you will still be paying around £4-5 for a meal.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are opportunities outside of work, including external schooling events, and days in which you are put in teams with people from different companies to solve an issue or build a product. There are major apprentice events that take place in London, such as Skills London, where we are invited to go and talk about our apprenticeship scheme. I have been to an external event at another organisation ran by other apprentices also.
9. Would you recommend Microsoft to a friend?
Microsoft is a major organisation, and an opportunity to start your career surrounded by such great people and so much room for development is an opportunity you will regret if you miss it. With constant learning both about other people and how large business run, you take away so much from the whole experience, and I'm only half way through!
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Microsoft?
If you want an apprenticeship here, you need to show your true colours. The HR representatives throughout your application will assign your role into which suits you best. As for the application process as a whole, don't just fill them out and be done with it. Keep up with news and technology surrounding the company, show that you actually want the job, not that people told you to apply so you did! Best of luck!
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