What made you choose an apprenticeship as a career route?
Analysing the benefits, I realised that the positives of a degree apprentice far outweighed my analysis of university. Not only would I be getting paid, but I would also have a free degree, no student loans and four years of experience. It also offered a direct pathway into the chosen career route I wanted to pursue, being cyber. Initially, with an unspecified computer science degree, I would have to gain experience in a related field before being able to work in cyber security.
What is your day-to-day role like?
Within my first project, my day-to-day role includes lots of networking devices and virtualisation. As an apprentice, I get lots of time to research new topics and get comfortable in order to be able to implement them. I also get study days to solidify college work and prepare for exams.
What are the interesting projects you’ve worked on so far?
I have worked on building a cyber range to explore vulnerabilities in networks. This was interesting as I got to explore multiple security issues including script writing and risk analysis.
What has been the best thing about your apprenticeship?
The best thing about my degree apprenticeship is the variety in the schedule (between work and learning) unlike the full-time jobs I had before Leonardo. Leonardo invests in your learning journey and dedicates Fridays as study days. This means that I have the best chances of passing my modules. There are also lots of opportunities to develop myself and learn new things on the job, especially practical aspects, through the different placements. In addition, I enjoy accessing Coursera’s huge library of courses which can develop my knowledge personally and professionally.
What have been your biggest achievements at Leonardo so far?
I have enjoyed participating in STEM events, encouraging younger students to pursue not just STEM subjects, but also degree apprenticeships, and highlighting the advantages to them.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship to people looking to take the first step in their career?
Yes, I would highly recommend a degree apprenticeship as it enables you to get industry experience alongside a paid for degree. This means you build industry connections and start your career rather than applying after you have earned a degree. Studying a degree apprenticeship allows you to earn alongside being a student, meaning you can have lots of fun experiences even if you are working. The work/study hybrid schedule means that you can optimise both study and work aspects, which can be a nice variety, and introduces you to having a full-time job and the responsibility this entails.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for an apprenticeship?
Do lots of interview prep to give yourself the best chances of success if you have decided to pursue a career path. This also prepares you for interviewing for other things, such as a job or promotion. I would also recommend doing lots of research into your chosen career path – degree apprenticeships in particular, as these are considered non-traditional routes.