Going to university was always the first option ever presented to me by my parents, teachers and peers. It just what everyone does after A-levels, right? So like everyone else I went through the process of applying through UCAS but with little motivation. I always knew university wasn’t for me especially with tuition fees soaring through the roof. When an opportunity to study, gain experience and do all this without being in debt appeared, this seemed like a no brainer. I left school in the summer of 2012 with A-levels in Maths, Chemistry, Physics and Photography and applied for the Capgemini apprenticeship scheme soon after and joined in Novemebr of 2012.

I have always enjoyed learning through practice rather than endless hours of staring at a book; at Capgemini I have the chance to experience things for myself and to help solve real world issues. On a daily basis I find myself interacting with clients and in turn expanding my network in a way I didn’t know was possible. In the past two years I have been a part of numerous projects ranging from major supermarkets to international travel companies.

The scheme is designed in such a way that lets you be independent in the work place but also gives you constant support. This is particularly true when it comes to completing the work bases assessments, I have found colleagues and tutors to be tremendously helpful when it comes to understanding the time constraints I sometimes face being on a client site. From day one I am treated as an employee and not a school leaver, which in turn provides me with the confidence needed to succeed amongst industry experts.

One of my biggest concerns when I joined was what I would be missing out on by not going to university – especially the student life. But with the vast apprentice network within Capgemini as well as the wider community there’s never been a lack in activities you can get involved in whether it be IT related or others such as photography.

In five years time I will be on my way to gaining a full BSC Hons degree and not be in debt (that’s not something every graduate can say). I also hope to grow within Capgemini and be involved in various projects to gain knowledge and experience and well as to expand my network.

My proudest achievement to date aside from actually being on the apprenticeship has to be inspiring young people like myself to think outside the box and educating them about the various opportunities available to them. Best of all I was able to go back to my school to share my experience with students and teachers about how university is not the only option.

Pallavi Boppana
Pallavi is the face of the new National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) campaign. Photographed with her father, Pallavi joined Capgemini two years ago and is well on her way to becoming a fully-fledged software engineer.