1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Having completed CGI's SDP, I have moved into a commercial management role, where I am responsible for the management of all our UK public sector subcontractors who provide bespoke solutions on CGI's projects. There are 2 of us responsible and the role involves contract negotiations, managing risks and deliverables, managing third party relationships etc. The role gives me a good overview of CGI's work and involvement across the UK and provides a different scene and set of tasks each day.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The SDP provided me a full BA Hons Business Management Degree, which I achieved with first class honours. On top of this, I am on target to complete my IACCM qualification this year. My skill set has significantly improved through the Programme and allowed me to progress quicker and develop further than my friends who attended university full time and are looking for their first 'job'. CGI also offer internal training courses, both mandatory and voluntary, which are available to all SDP students.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The Programme immediately welcomes you and supports the transition from school into full time work and study, which can be tough, however the resources made available to those on the SDP are excellent making it a smooth and enjoyable change. Both the company, the University and the teams you meet on the role have thoroughly met my expectations and there has always been a great sense of community in the SDP and within the company. The SDP Manager, This section of the comment has been removed by a member of the RateMyApprenticeship Team because it did not meet our site terms and conditions is particularly effective in ensuring students enjoy the programme and are rewarded for their efforts throughout which is great incentive for employees of our age. I have not regrets about joining the programme and am proud to have completed it.
4. How valued do you feel by CGI?
I think CGI This section of the comment has been removed by a member of the RateMyApprenticeship Team because it did not meet our site terms and conditions are effective in recognising achievements, not just at University but internally too. CGI offer Recognition awards for performance each quarter which have financial incentives and the SDP itself is supported strongly by senior management who take daily performance in the role into account. Our SDP offered competitive salaries throughout and allowed me to 'graduate' on a salary which was higher than a normal graduates. On top of this, the benefits given from day one to SDP students are great, so I never had an issue about not feeling valued throughout my three years.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme developed significantly over the three years I was on it and since I have graduated from it has taken on a larger intake year on year and been shortlisted for a number of awards; this speaks for itself in my opinion. There was always support available for issues, personal or work related, and a good team behind the recruitment which stayed in touch throughout the SDP. The high retention rate of SDP graduates I think is down to the way the programme is structured and the ability for it to springboard your career in CGI.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The University of Winchester's Business School offered us all the resources, facilities and support of a full time student and were aware that we also worked full time so appreciated our efforts and the time it took to travel once a week for a fully packed day of studying. I enjoyed being involved on a campus and being given the perks of a student. I never had any needs for extra help from tutor's etc. thankfully, however during my dissertation my tutor made themselves available to me whenever I needed and I am grateful for this.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The SDP is well known throughout CGI now to managers and other colleagues, so all are aware of the demands it has and cater to the fact you are only working 4 days of the 5. My manager was very supportive when I needed to take study days/dissertation leave and helped with my research, as did my line manager and the SDP management team. The fact CGI are sponsoring me to complete a degree is 'support' enough too.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Each year all SDP received a pay rise which would ensure they graduated on at least a minimum graduate salary. CGI ensured SDP students were rewarded for having 3 years work experience on top of a degree so were above a normal CGI graduate wage when they completed SDP. If we were needed to travel to other CGI offices, we were able to claim expenses for this so costs were always manageable.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
From day one SDP students were part of the sport and social club of CGI. I have been involved with many sporting events throughout the week, theatre trips, charity run events, community events all of which not only allow you to network with SDP students outside of the office, but also give you exposure to other CGI colleagues and clients who many are a lot more experienced than we are. I have also been on holiday playing football at CGI's 'World Cup' with all the offices across Europe every year since joining - a great experience and great fun.
9a. Would you recommend CGI to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I have recommended CGI to friends and family as I believe the SDP is the best way to gain a degree with vital industry experience. If you are capable of further education then an SDP is the best approach. CGI itself offers stability, opportunities and paths to develop and each student graduating from the SDP are examples of this.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to CGI? *
For the SDP assessment centre stage I would advise applicants to ensure they have done their research about CGI and our industry as well as know exactly why you want CGI's SDP and not university. Staying calm and being able to explain why you are the right fit for CGI is key.
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