1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role as an IT degree apprentice requires me to move around and support different teams every 6 months. This means I face new challenges everywhere I go and my day-to-day can change rapidly. Most days I'll have a small handful of meetings or calls and I'm required to manage stakeholders for the variety of tasks I have in flight.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learned an abundance of skills on this scheme that will help me in the immediate and long term future. The best skills I have learnt are how to effectively communicate and how to manage time. These two skills have allowed me to manage stakeholders effectively and have helped me balance university deadlines with work commitments. I have gained technical skills also; the university side of the scheme gives you introductions to a variety of coding languages which is a nice mix with the soft skills learned.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme has allowed me to grow my network massively and face new challenges. As a result, I am a much more confident and competent individual. There are aspects of the scheme which require improvements but overall I find the scheme ok, I am much better off being on this scheme than if I had taken just the university route. I have experienced things I never would have expected like managing projects and proof of concepts pieces of work. I've been given the opportunity to present different topics to different audiences and build personal workplace confidence.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme moves along in a bumpy manor but the foundations are in place. Our 6 month placements at SSE could use more planning time investment as I am aware of a number of placement managers not knowing what to do with a Degree Apprentice. If you are an individual with an enthusiastic drive, then you can get work from most people with ease which helps with placement structure issues. The university side is structured ok but as we are a new programme, there are lots of experiments and trials with us to see what does and doesn't work. This does unfortunately mean the organisation of the programme is pulled around a lot but as time goes on both SSE and University will be able to better structure it, I'm sure.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
There are a number of SSE employees I have worked with who have a genuine interest in my development, meaning the option is there for support from lots of different people. My achievements have been recognised by the people I've worked with and they continue to invest time in my growth. SSE is big on identity, so as long as I am performing well and showing interest and enthusiasm, SSE employees will continue to invest support and guidance. Line manager support is offered to us on a 1 to 1 basis and again, as long as I am performing well I feel this channel will always be there.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
As time has progressed, the university has improved. We have been able to work with lecturers who are keen to support our grades and are responsive to 1 to 1 sessions or email communications. We have provided a lot of feedback to the university, some actions are not taken but most of the feedback seems to be taken into account.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The soft skills we learn at university help us in the workplace, however the technical skills not so much. I have had the opportunity to perform a technical role in one of my placements but I am aware this is a rare occurrence. I find experiences at work often help me at university rather than the other way around.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
The opportunities to get involved in extra-curricular activities are present at work. A number of employees embrace health and wellbeing exercises and send out communication to get involved. An event I attended last year allowed me to go to London for an event partnered with Worldpay. I really enjoyed this experience because it allowed me and another apprentice to work collaboratively with another company, growing our skills and network in the process. I would like to see more of these types of events open to all apprentices.
9a. Would you recommend SSE to a friend?
SSE embraces working differently, our working hours can be flexible and the employees here are respectful. There are really great employees here who care about your future and want to see you succeed, if you put in effort and build your identity, your achievements are recognised and support is there to help you. SSE is a company big on identity, if you are looking for a personal challenge then it is a great place to start.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to SSE?
Work your hardest on all skills; soft, technical and any others. Build up your confidence talking to people you normally wouldn't and develop yourself into someone you would want to work with. Enthusiasm and personal drive is really key to this scheme and you will see the rewards through the support you receive. If you can get yourself into a hard working mind-set before joining, then the work/uni/life balance will become much easier.
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