University versus Apprenticeships: Choosing the right career option

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Are you deciding between university or an apprenticeship?  Read this blog to find out what our apprentices have to say

At some point, you might have found yourself at a crossroads, considering whether an apprenticeship or a degree is the best choice for you. To understand how being an apprenticeship proved to be a better option for them, I spoke to few of our apprentices from Inverness to learn about their experience and journey and this what they said:

Lucy MacPherson, Security Analyst, on how she found the right route to further education

I, like many of my friends, was not sure what I wanted to do when I left school. I tried my hand at a few things and worked in retail for four years trying to figure out what I wanted to do, whilst earning some money to help with my bills and manage other responsibilities.

I always knew I wanted to explore a career in IT but could never work out what would be the best option for me in such a vast field.  Also, the lack of options in Inverness added to my confusion on how to actually get started in the IT industry. When I did begin to look at what I could do, I stumbled upon an opportunity to join Capgemini as an apprentice. I leapt at the chance and applied immediately, as the option of being able to learn while I could earn was just ideal!  When I found out more about the apprenticeship scheme, I realised it would take just one year of my life and I would have more job options than when I started. A win-win!

I started my apprenticeship in cybersecurity in 2017, and I am happy to say I am glad to have chosen this route.  I have found the work so interesting and it ended up being exactly the kind of work I wanted.  At the beginning, I was involved in security compliance for a dedicated Government client which I loved! It taught me the ins and outs of the different avenues that are available within Cybersecurity and built my practical knowledge and understanding at the same time. After two years, I then advanced to working with the Endpoint team who deal with anti-virus and monitoring as well as investigating any potentially malicious payloads which may be triggered. I have now moved to the team on a full-time basis while also doing Security Compliance.  I thoroughly enjoy the work that I do – every day is exciting and a real challenge and I’m constantly wondering what is going to happen next.

In the 6 years, I have been at Capgemini, I have secured 2 promotions and am studying part-time for an honours degree in cybersecurity which Capgemini is funding.

Kieran Robbins, PMO Lead, on how he discovered his real passion

I am so excited to share my experience as I know, just like so many others, I was totally confused about what to do to ensure a steady career. Here is my story and why I would recommend an apprenticeship as a route.

I always had a love for languages and after school, I went to France for the summer to explore opportunities for myself and see what really interested me. However, I came back still searching for the answer. I always knew about the option of an apprenticeship and decided to go for it and give it a year of my life. Funnily enough, I had never been overly interested in technology, in fact, I was one of the few boys in school who never showed keen interest in even a casual tech chat with my friends, however, I thought it was better than doing nothing and the worst that could happen was that I would finish the apprenticeship with qualification and then continue to find something else.

I decided to join Capgemini and explore a career in IT and during the apprenticeship, I had my ‘eureka’ moment and realised what I wanted to do – project and people management! Here I am 5 years into my career at Capgemini and I am still into project management where, in a short span of time, I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of different accounts and even travel to work on client sites.

On the question of further education, I have not had to worry about it all. With the training available at Capgemini and the possibility of joining the fast track programme, I truly believe that I made the correct choice for me, personally. In joining an apprenticeship programme instead of university, I still have the option of getting a formal education via the programme too.

Here is the one piece of advice I would like to give to those who feel that the only way to a stable career is through university –  open up to the opportunity of choosing an apprenticeship as there is a strong chance that you could land in your dream job! Surely it’s better to do a couple of years getting real-world experience alongside a qualification than it is to do four years at university doing a degree you aren’t overly interested in and might never use.