Hello, I Am Charlotte
The question “Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?” is not a simple one for me.
Tell us more about your experience
The question “Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?” is not a simple one for me. I was diagnosed with depression at 15 and have struggled with it ever since. Like many who have depression and anxiety, talking about my affliction is something I’ve never been good at. So, I ended up going to university for a year straight out of school to study Film and then dropped out after a year for mental health reasons. It took a couple of years to get myself back on my feet by working as a bartender and business administrator.
“I knew that I wanted to study and get a degree, but I also didn’t want to stop working. Therefore, a degree apprenticeship seemed like the perfect option.”
The best part about doing a degree and being an apprentice at Cisco is the fact that we have a rotational structure. This means we can move around the business and give different roles a try. In doing this, I can find where I best fit and what I enjoy most out of each role. The whole experience has been incredibly unexpected from what I first imagined, but also informative and rewarding.
In fact, I think the proudest moment I have had in my apprenticeship was getting on the course and passing all my modules the first-time round. For me, getting onto the course and passing through all the stages was something that made me so happy.
However, I think there are a few challenging factors when it comes to work, let alone with an apprenticeship. Knowing when to ask for help for anything is very important. It’s crucial to remember that you’re not alone and that if you’re overwhelmed there are loads of people who are around and ready to help. You may feel like a hindrance (at least I did at first), but that’s not true and people are happy to share their wisdom.
Another challenge is knowing when to admit fault. You’re bound to make some mistakes, you’re human! I’ve made many but trying to hide these and not owning up to them only makes it worse. It can be hard to come forward, but when you own up and own it, someone else can help show you how to fix the problem – it’s all a learning process!
“When it comes to studying, learning, and working at the same time, it can be hard to balance all three.”
I know when I started, I got the balance wrong at first, it’s bound to happen, but this comes along with the territory of an apprenticeship. Once you’ve gotten used to your new surroundings and team, it’s perfectly fine to ask your manager for time to complete your university or apprenticeship work. Believe it or not, they want you to succeed!
GetMyFirstJob helped me in my application search by filtering all the apprenticeship degrees in my area that I had the qualifications for into one easy list. This was really useful to see what I can apply to and what roles out there I might like. They listed the qualifications and skills that I’d need and what kind of preparation I would need for the interview stages.
My advice to those considering an apprenticeship would be that it’s not for the faint-hearted. Yes, it’s great to get an education while working and being paid, but most importantly, it’s hard work. Going into my apprenticeship now I was very self-assured – too much so perhaps. I thought that I would be great as I had got onto the course so it would be easy from then out… safe to say this has not been the case. It’s hard, very hard, but worth it!
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