As part of our National Apprentice Week coverage, we find out what it’s like to be a Capgemini apprentice. Anika Mehangra describes why she decided on her career path, why she chose Capgemini and how her apprenticeship is going so far. Aged 19, Anika is a Software Engineer, based at Southbank in London.

When did you join Capgemini and what were your primary reasons for joining?

Anika Mehangra - Software Engineer at CapgeminiAnika Mehranga:  I joined on 22 September 2014. I had a strong interest in coding and spent time in applying to Capgemini as I knew programming was their speciality. I wanted to join because I found out about their excellent Higher Apprenticeship scheme, which revolved around learning while working. I thought it was a better opportunity for me than going to university because I could have a lot more hands-on work and gain experience at the same time.

How would you describe your current role? What does a typical day involve?

AM:  The project offers a lot of opportunities, including opportunities to make changes to my client’s website, which are listed on an online board. From there you can select what job you want and assign it to yourself. Someone else could also assign a job to you. You then work on the job and fix the error that the job describes. This is then reviewed before it can be tested. Each job is tested three times, twice by Capgemini testers and once by the client’s testers. It is a long process, yet it provides constant work.

What skills have you gained working for Capgemini?

AM:  Over the past few months I have been able to use the skills that I gained from sixth form as well as the ones I learned in the training part of this apprenticeship to carry out tasks to actually make a difference on my client’s website. Those are not new skills but they have been sharpening and developing. However, above all I have gained more people skills; this is from having weekly meetings to discuss what we did, what we are doing and what we are going to do.

What have been the highlights of your apprenticeship?

AM:  For me, one of the major highlights so far was the training. I learned a lot in such a short time period as well as having fun doing it. Some could even say it was more insightful than what had been learned in sixth form, though it was hard. I was able to ask my tutors for help as well as consulting my manager for any general queries I had. The help and support we received was very valuable.

What’s your proudest achievement so far?

AM:  I have been able to tell many other people about the scheme I am in and I have influenced a friend’s decision in applying for this Higher Apprentice scheme at Capgemini. He later told me that he had got the job, which was fantastic!

How structured was your apprenticeship programme?

AM:  The apprenticeship is very structured. We begin with training in Telford for 13 weeks, which included a one week induction course to take care of paperwork and equipment. We received hands-on training with some of the things that we would need for the job. After the in-depth training course, we started our daily jobs and were assigned an assessor to monitor the apprenticeship coursework that we are given. Every six to eight weeks, we meet our assessor. They mark the work they have set for us and set new tasks to be completed for the next meeting. This goes on for two years until we get our qualification awards.

What opportunities have arisen as a result of working at Capgemini?

AM:  I have had a chance to speak to schools with regard to the apprenticeship programme I am on. I have also been interviewed for local newspapers to explain how I came across this programme and why I chose this over going down the standard university route. I enjoy inspiring young people, especially those who don’t see university as a solid route to go down. This has then made me more confident as a person.

Would you recommend Capgemini apprenticeships to others?

AM:  I will and I already have. I think it’s important to let more young people know about different opportunities and how they can change their lives.

What tips would you give to other applicants?

AM:  I would tell them to look at all of the opportunities that they have. Most people in the world don’t have the same chances as we have. They often have to do what their family does. When you find a good opportunity – whether it’s big or small – take it, because it will make you stand out. Being different is not a bad thing: it makes you more of an interesting person. Even if things do or don’t work out, you will have gained knowledge and you will also have a story to tell other people!