Like most young teenagers just finishing their A-Levels, I had the original intention of going to a top university to study computer science. After the drawn-out process of applying to universities, going to interviews and successfully securing places at Warwick and Manchester, I found that when results day came I did not achieve the asking grades for my courses. As is custom I then looked at clearing to try and attain a place at another university. During this process I realised that university was not the only, or the best, route into the software industry. This led to the hard decision to forgo higher education entirely and begin the difficult task of tracking down another means of gaining the relevant qualifications. My research eventually led me to Capgemini and the Higher Apprenticeship scheme, which encompassed all of my needs – a university course and job experience simultaneously.
In contrast, Will joined the scheme after already having studied at university for two years. He had been studying Physics at Warwick University, and after completing a programming module during his second year, made the decision that Physics did not lead to the career path he wished to pursue. Once he left, he was in much the same situation as myself. His original thought was to reapply to universities to study Computer Science, however that meant waiting an entire year to apply again through UCAS, therefore he began to look at other options. Once he heard about the higher apprenticeships that Capgemini offers he concluded this apprenticeship scheme was the best option to further his career due to all opportunities that it can offer.
The Capgemini Higher Apprenticeship scheme is a five year process, the first two years of which entail an apprenticeship with provider QA. Following this, the course moves onto a 3 year university degree, provided in partnership with Aston University. Throughout the five years, apprentices work alongside Capgemini teams on real projects, providing both a channel to apply what is taught, as well as invaluable experience.
As fledgling higher apprentices, the first exposure to training we received was the aptly named Accelerated Learning Environment (A.L.E). As the name suggests, this is a condensed training course, tailored by Capgemini to integrate us into their community; alongside providing us with the necessary skills to be part of the wider Capgemini workforce.
For the most part, each section of the company has its own tailored A.L.E program, each incorporating varied and diverse courses on many topics. Our business unit, Business Information Management (or BIM), focuses heavily on data collection and analytics, therefore our stream prioritises these key elements.
We won’t kid you, the process can be hard at times, and we are working long hours. However the payoff is well worth it. We have become verse in a wide range of technical disciplines from basic programming to project management
The classroom environment in A.L.E.
As if there isn’t enough content within the classroom, we have also been assigned with a junior enhanced talent program; a small project that sees us applying our training into a real life situation, in order to deliver a product of our own design to a client. More commonly known as a JET project, these are short, often internal projects, which are exclusively undertaken by teams of junior talent, who are guided by a senior mentor.
The velocity with which we have progressed through A.L.E, however, is only part of the whole experience. We always find time to relax in the company of the other higher apprentices which is conducive to bonding into a strong, cohesive unit. This could be over a game of cards or trips to the local ice rink. This friendship is encouraged by the fact that we are staying in a university accommodation-like environment, making socialising easy. On top of having the friendship and support of our peers and colleagues, we always have the option of going to a team of Capgemini employees, dedicated to the higher apprentice and graduate schemes.
                                                                        Friendships are strengthened over a game of monopoly.
 A.L.E is designed to give apprentices a jump start on their technical careers within Capgemini, a privilege that very few other apprenticeships offer. However this is only the first step in our career, as there is much more training and experience needed before we realize both our personal and professional goals. I guess what we are trying to convey to you is that the Capgemini apprenticeship is one of the top courses in the UK, which can lead onto many further opportunities. If given the chance, we believe there should be very little to discourage taking it. Since joining neither Will or I have ever looked back.