Female space operations engineer maintains equipment

Apprenticeships in tech: How young people can get involved

Female space operations engineer maintains equipment

Article by Ben Rubery, Apprenticeship Programmes Manager, Capgemini

As an award-winning apprenticeship employer, Capgemini have been invested in building the future and providing opportunities for apprentices for over 10 years.

We recognise the challenges that young people in particular face when considering their career options and the pandemic has magnified this issue as the UK now faces inevitable youth unemployment and underemployment challenges.

The UK Government have announced a range of initiatives under it’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ and we recognise it’s more important than ever that young people take the time to explore and understand the options available to them.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of this plan and bring a huge amount of value to the individuals who undertake them. They combine distance, classroom, or blended learning with on-the-job experience to provide the skills required to be successful in a chosen industry. This is a unique opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals, earn while you learn and gain a recognised qualification – up to master’s level.

The pace of growth in the technology sector is significant and the same applies to digital apprenticeships, which have allowed Capgemini to develop our own technologists of the future in key areas such as Cloud, Cyber Security and DevOps. So, if you’re passionate about pursuing an apprenticeship in technology where should you begin?

Demonstrate your passion

Perhaps you’re a self-taught programmer or enjoy reading about the latest developments in tech and take the time to research and continue learning new skills. As someone starting their career, it can be difficult to draw on past experiences so these are areas employers will want to hear about, as it not only shows your interest in the role but willingness to develop and learn, a big factor when taking on an apprenticeship.

Engage with employers

Many employers run insight events, Q&A and training sessions for prospective candidates. What’s brilliant is that the majority of these are now being delivered virtually so it couldn’t be easier to join! They offer the opportunity to learn more about the roles available and speak directly with employees, particularly those that are currently on apprenticeship programmes.

Not only are these events a great way to develop your employability skills, but it’s a chance to build your network and demonstrate your genuine interest for joining a particular organisation. You can find all of Capgemini’s upcoming events here.

Social Media

Talking of network, social media can be a fantastic way to start building connections and learn more about an organisations day to day activity. Making sure the content on the accounts you’re using to interact is appropriate (perhaps separate from a personal profile), you can engage with an organisations latest news and use this as a basis for any interviews.

Using social media to connect with current employees in roles that you’re hoping to go into is a quick and easy way to get your questions answered and hear about first-hand experience. Capgemini’s graduate and apprentice community are hugely active across social media and you can follow us across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Research

Apprenticeships can sometimes be difficult to navigate if you do not know what you are looking for. All apprenticeship vacancies are posted on the Government website here, and if you’re looking to work for a particular employer take a look at their dedicated careers websites like Capgemini’s pages here.

Use resources like RateMyApprenticeship and the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer listings to understand more about the quality of apprenticeships available. Awards are often based on existing employee reviews and data so are worth checking out if you’re unsure about a particular programme.

Organisations and their apprenticeship programmes may also be part of industry recognised accreditations, such as Tech Industry Gold for digital and technology degree apprenticeships allowing prospective apprentices to choose employers with confidence, based on results including employment and academic outcomes.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


Tackling the data industry as a 19-year old apprentice

Kardelen Keskin

I was always undecided about my career and at one point, after receiving my GCSE results, I contemplated becoming a dentist.

While my test results may have proven that I was a suitable fit for this industry in secondary school, I wasn’t certain that this route was for me, so after my A-levels I decided to try a non-traditional career path. At 19, I enrolled with Creative Pioneers, a national apprenticeship programme in advertising, creative and digital, for a data analyst role at Mindshare. Though it was a shock to many family and friends for reasons you may imagine, I was confident that hands-on learning was the path for me.

I’ll be honest, my apprenticeship knowledge was vague. I anticipated joining at intern level, working on meaningless, administrative tasks, but I was quickly proven wrong. I was given autonomy soon after joining Mindshare with the opportunity to develop my own projects and even speak with clients. When I think back to these first few weeks, I often ponder what it would have been like to go to university. Would I have been creating and implementing projects for some of the world’s top digital brands? Likely not. I also know for a fact that I would not be working as a full-time employee, because I would still be in my second year of higher education. It is moments like these that make me appreciate the opportunity I have been given by Creative Pioneers, and needless to say I’m an advocate for apprenticeships.

Whilst the fast-paced, ever-changing media environment posed a challenge at first, I was keen to progress my career quickly from the moment I joined Mindshare. Even though I chose an apprenticeship in data, I don’t feel stuck in this industry because of the diverse set of skills I have acquired in my programme. I feel empowered to continue progressing in my current role, though I know my avenues are not restricted should I decide to change industries in the future.

Working in the data team at Mindshare has been incredibly inspiring, and a day like International Women’s Day makes that apparent. It may come as a surprise to some that the majority of my team are female. Together we’re constantly thinking of ways to innovate through technology, paving the way for future generations while also hoping to reduce the stigma for females working in data and technology.

Speaking of stigmas, there are certainly some that exist about apprenticeships, but I would not change my journey for anything. I feel more equipped to handle complex issues in and outside of work, and I feel empowered to take full control over my career regardless of the direction it may take. It’s rewarding to have a career route established at just 20 years old, because when I think of friends who chose to go to university, I know they are still a few years away from this stage of life.

For those curious about upskilling in their current role or exploring a route other than university, apprenticeships are a really strong option, such as the one I’ve done with Creative Pioneers. I can see from my experience as an apprentice that we’re helping to diversify the workforce, which is really rewarding in itself!

About the author

After completing her A-levels Kardelen Keskin decided she didn’t want to follow the traditional university route and was more interested in hands-on experience in a fast-paced environment. She parked her plan of becoming a dentist and applied for a data analyst role at Mindshare which she will complete in March 2020. The fast-paced and constantly evolving media environment was a challenge but has provided essential experience and allowed Kardelen to advance quickly.