Interviewed by Krishna Solanki
Meet Destiny O’Shaughnessy, who is undertaking a Technology Degree Apprenticeship with Accenture and is a member of the Pathway CTM Student Advisory Board. Here she discusses her insight and experiences as an apprentice.
What does a typical day look like as a Technology Degree Apprentice?
A typical day for me varies, although the work is mostly project-based. In the past couple of months, I have been supporting Cloud Infrastructure and have been a migration support analyst for a multinational telecommunications company with headquarters in the UK and Europe.
A day can involve a variety of tasks: preparing for and attending meetings with clients, communicating with application developers on progress, or conducting pieces of research using databases. Each week my team and I present the progress that has been made to the client, to ensure they are kept updated and in the know of all the work going on.
I also represent Accenture outside of work, attending insight evenings and BAME events, speaking on panels to represent Accenture amongst other apprenticeship schemes.
Of course, working from home has affected how I’ve had to work, with the communications aspect of the job changing the most. It is less personal as I am unable to interact with people face-to-face, although there have been more initiatives to bring our teams and social groups together, with online quizzes and games. I think that working from home really pushes people to be more available and improve their communication skills which is great. I also take a lot more calls, making my calendar much fuller than it was when I was based in an office.
What is your favourite part of being an Apprentice?
Honestly, there are many features of being an apprentice which I like; although to pick one, it would have to be the exposure I get. I enjoy the networking aspect of the job: meeting new people, gaining their knowledge, and building friendships. I also enjoy the fact that I gain lots of experience and training opportunities as well as working.
What did you study in Sixth Form, and how did you first learn about apprenticeships?
For my A Levels I studied Sociology, Psychology, and Product Design, achieving AAB in my exams. I enjoyed my subjects, and I always knew I wanted to pursue a job related to design; in sixth form that developed into a desire to work in digital design.
In sixth form, I was always pushed to apply to universities, and apprenticeships were never presented to me as a choice. I loved working and enjoyed the work environment better than that of a school; I liked that working took a more hands-on approach as opposed to the more theoretical nature of school learning. Pathway CTM came to my school and introduced apprenticeships as an option, and after going to Accenture’s open day I fell in love with their company and values, which made me want to work with them.
What gives degree apprenticeships an edge over university?
The experience that you gain during an apprenticeship is unmatched. You get hands-on experience and are offered a variety of training to help you upskill and improve yourself in so many ways. Moreover, the connections that you make both within and outside of the company are invaluable, and I have made some great friends as an apprentice. There are also so many networks and groups that you can join, including but not exclusive to Mental Health, LGBT, and Disability Inclusion groups.
As well as this, you earn a degree at the end of the apprenticeship, along with an IT specialism, a salary, and years of experience.
How did you find the apprenticeship application process, and how did you make your application stand out?
I didn’t find the application difficult, but it was daunting. However, I had attended Accenture’s open day, and they had mentioned what they were looking for during the process, which helped.
The actual process was okay; I had great support from people throughout, including constant support from Pathway CTM advisors, and I had researched the company, which made the process much easier.
Within my application, especially for Accenture, I had to demonstrate my willingness to learn and my passion for technology, as recruiters want to know that you are passionate about what you are looking to learn. I had to ensure my statements were all back up with relevant examples; one particular method I used was the STAR technique. I also had to highlight my soft skills, such as customer service, to show that I can engage with people and gain the clients’ trust from a sales perspective.
Do you have any other advice for aspiring apprentices?
Earning a place as an apprentice isn’t about your specific subjects or grades; it’s more about having a strong interest in the role, your experience and your soft skills.
In an interview, you should always be yourself, show your passion and believe in yourself!
You can connect with Destiny on LinkedIn here.