NAW 2019: Collaborative spirit empowers apprentices

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In September 2018, five of Capgemini’s degree apprentices started an exciting journey as part of a joint cohort with four of Anglian Water’s first ever degree apprentices on a collaborative new programme to drive digital thinking across the business.

The joint apprenticeship initiative has brought with it a number of benefits. I caught up with Capgemini degree apprentice, Megan McDonald to find out more – here’s what she told me:

 

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

“I always knew that I didn’t want to attend university. The sixth-form I attended was heavily in favour and promoted university as being the route after sixth-form though so I had to conduct a lot of independent research into apprenticeships myself.

“I wanted my career to be in IT as it was one of the subjects which I enjoyed most and was most confident in, and with technology constantly evolving I felt that learning ‘on the job’ in an apprenticeship would be most beneficial to me. I didn’t want the debt associated with university as I was keen to start earning money, but I did want to continue to learn as well. I also knew that often companies ask for experience in the working environment and university couldn’t offer this.

“My family and friends had always known that I didn’t want to go to university and they were very supportive of that and with other members of my family doing an apprenticeship, they saw the real benefits that they could offer. My sixth-form tutors were supportive of my decision and were keen to see whether the benefits of an apprenticeship would be the same as studying at university as I would be the only student in the year doing a degree apprenticeship.

“Now, doing an apprenticeship I am able to take an active role as I can apply what I am learning directly into the business to see the real business value. I am able to gain work experience as I speak to others around me and learn from them as well as being able to directly investigate where technology is of value within a business.”

What have been the benefits of working alongside apprentices from Anglian Water?

“Working alongside Anglian Water has provided three key strengths; I have been able to develop a closer relationship with the client, have been given unique individual and group opportunities and richer duties in my work placements.

“Recently we hosted an event in the Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) where we invited a group of school students to participate in ‘An App in a Day’ session where working collaboratively with the ASE team we were able to facilitate the day.  Together with the other apprentices, we collectively designed the task set and informed the students about degree apprenticeships and what they can offer. The day proved to be a success as the students presented back the apps they had created to the group. We will soon be taking the challenge on the road where we will be visiting schools to carry out a similar task to support Anglian Water in creation of their Schools Outreach Programme.

“With the Anglian Water apprentices, we also had to the opportunity to participate in a design sprint in our Applied Innovation Exchange at our London office. The four day design sprint enabled us to solve a real business problem from post it notes to prototypes.

“I also received the opportunity to present to board members at an Alliance Principles Meeting, discussing and promoting degree apprenticeships. The aim of this meeting was to stimulate talk surrounding degree apprenticeships, focusing on the value that the investment brings to both the companies running them, and the talent being brought on to them. These occasions wouldn’t have been presented to us if we weren’t working alongside the Anglian Water apprentices.”

What do you hope to achieve in the next 5 years?

“In the next five years, I hope to have achieved my degree in Digital and Technology Solutions and graduated with all of my cohort. I hope to have created and maintained a strong relationship with Anglian Water and be a trusted member of the alliance team. Having the opportunity to work on several different projects will also allow me to build on my experience. I hope to have visited many countries and be in the process of buying a house – fingers crossed!”

 

Find out more about our apprenticeship programmes and apply here.

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