1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My official job title is Premier Field Engineer for Skype for Business, this means I have a support role. Every day is different for me, I don't like having a routine so I make sure I'm doing a range of different things during the week. I have the freedom to work in different areas and on different projects. One day I can be helping a fellow apprentice and another day I'm volunteering for an event.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt a lot during my transition from school to work. I've noticed that my presentation skills have improved dramatically, I have more confidence in what I'm doing and saying. Thanks to the training provided, my technical knowledge has grown and I have a better understanding of topics like building networks and addressing.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I really enjoy my apprenticeship, I've made some great friends and have been given some great opportunities. I was able to go to Future Decoded within the first couple of months of being here, I get to meet amazing people and even help organise some events. The people I work with are lovely, they're always there to answer your questions and give guidance when you need it. I can happily say it's met my expectations.
4. How valued do you feel by Microsoft?
I haven't had any conflicts at work, I get recognition for the work I do and I never feel underappreciated. I get to be involved with projects I'm interested in, there are lots of events that happen at the office which I can volunteer for. Sometimes there's the bonus of free food and drink at the event.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
This year has been quite the challenge for everyone, Microsoft took on a large number of us which meant some departments were new to having apprentices. My team was an example of this however, my manager knew it would be hard to be a PFE apprentice so she organised for me to experience a few other roles in the business. This will later help me decide where I want to go at the end of my apprenticeship. Overall, I think the programme is well structured and organisation comes with practise and experience.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
QA is the company who provides our training, it was quite the rocky start however they are now trying to turn things around and improve it. I think I do get the support I need. Our Skills Coach comes in monthly to check on our progress and the classes give us the information we need to pass the exams.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have regular meetings with my manager to review my progress. I was also given a mentor within my domain and an apprentice buddy who both regularly keep up to date with me and make sure I'm happy with everything. I never have to be worried about asking questions or asking for help.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I had to move away from home for this apprenticeship, I now rent a studio apartment and can comfortably afford to live there on my own.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Throughout the year there are lots of different events running, within my first couple of months I was able to go to Future Decoded as a volunteer. I also organised a time where I went back to my old secondary school and spoke about the apprenticeship programme. There are also team events, we recently had a day trip to Bletchley Park.
9. Would you recommend Microsoft to a friend?
They look after you and are passionate about the apprenticeship programme. It's an impressive place to work in, there are so many opportunities available and it's a lovely atmosphere. I'll never regret accepting the job offer here as I've had an amazing time so far. I've met some wonderful people, had some great experiences and cant wait to see what might happen next.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Microsoft?
Do your research. Look into what Microsoft actually does, what is our aim? Clean up your internet presence. Get rid of those embarrassing Facebook posts and replace them with your LinkedIn profile. Think of answers to possible questions you may be asked and think of a couple questions of your own to give back.
Most importantly, be yourself and you'll be fantastic!
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