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 involves taking on lots of new challenges, prioritising workloads, managing stakeholders and championing a smarter way of working. Every 6 months, I move into a new placement within IT and I am able to build and learn new skills across a variety of teams. My day will typically consist of a small handful of meetings which contribute towards different long term objectives. Alongside these meetings, I need to manage the reactive pieces of work which may appear, meaning I'm kept busy the majority of the time.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Since I started the scheme, I have picked up an abundance of new skills. These new skills range between technical and soft skills, resulting in a well rounded skill set. I have been exposed to a variety of technical languages and have been supported in learning them fast to meet university deadlines. Alongside the technical skills, the scheme provides you with opportunities to present to a wide audience, lead teams, manage projects and communicate effectively. I have been encouraged to complete tasks outside of my comfort zone; as a result, my confidence has grown massively and I have become a competent worker.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme is demanding but rewarding. I enjoy developing my skill set and learning smarter ways of working. The majority of the people I have worked with have given me huge amounts of patience and guidance and seem to have a genuine care for my future. The university side of the scheme is challenging and balancing work, university and social life can be tough. Overall, I enjoy the programme and I am certain my future will benefit from it.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme allows me to move to a new team within IT every 6 months. This grows my network and understanding of different roles massively. The placements have encouraged me to face new challenges and have allowed me to decide what role or area I might want to step into. The university aspect of the programme feels less structured and we have encountered some issues. Fitting the two sides of the programme together is challenging but support has always been there.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have received huge amounts of support from my employer. This support has been both personal and professional, even supporting me throughout my university modules. There is a growing network of approachable people within SSE IT who care about the IT degree apprentices and recognise those who are pushing themselves. We are provided opportunities to showcase and develop our skills on a regular basis.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The majority of my lecturers at University of Chichester have been receptive to my communications and have been of great support when a deadline has been fast approaching. The support at university is less present compared to SSE but is still good. Questions about lecture content, assignments and the scheme have mostly been answered in a timely manner.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The content delivered through the training provider has become more relevant year by year. I can pull many examples from work into university, greatly benefitting my learning. There are many opportunities to develop soft skills which builds confidence and communication ability. The technical side of the university has very rarely benefitted my role at work, unfortunately. I can see the benefit of knowing the technical skills, but the roles at work which utilise them are very limited. The skills which have seen me perform better have been more towards non-technical skills.
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.)
There are extra-curricular activities at work to get involved in, mostly fitness related. Each year, a health and wellbeing challenge opens up to all employees. I have taken both the challenges I have been invited to and it seems to be getting better each year. I have visited other companies during the programme and been able to grow my network through this. These activities are however quite rare.
9a. Would you recommend SSE to a friend?
The scheme has made me mature massively. My confidence has grown and I have become a competent worker. Without the scheme, there is a high chance I would not have a career path and I would have very few skills to take with me to the outside world. Being able to grow such a wide range of skills and come out of the programme with no debt is a huge bonus.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to SSE?
Managing your own time well is a great skill to have before starting the scheme. Being able to sacrifice hours of social life to meet deadlines will start to become habit and you will stand out amongst peers from day one. Being open minded about new challenges is a must have skill. Having this skill will make the new challenges much easier to tackle. If you have a closed mind-set, your identity will be impacted and people will not trust you to deliver valuable pieces of work.
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