Hello, I Am Holly
I decided to apply for an apprenticeship scheme because I recognised that they offer unique opportunities that are not necessarily matched through the traditional university route. I was aware that by choosing this path, I would gain practical knowledge and experience in a professional industry whilst gaining exposure to real life situations. This would allow me to gain experience whilst also developing my confidence and knowledge within the business and technological industry. I also knew that by working alongside experienced and highly qualified individuals that this would not only inspire my own career aspirations but would also aid me in gaining and developing many invaluable skills. This hands-on approach within a professional environment is not included when going down the traditional University route and this is the main reason for why I chose to carry out an apprenticeship as opposed to going to university.
Tell us more about your experience
I have recently changed teams that embed an Agile-Waterfall Hybrid ways of working. I am learning about the programme as a whole, alongside its objectives, aims, and goals. I am currently shadowing other team members and gaining insights into different projects.
Prior to this, I was in an Agile team that focused on developing and launching Cyber Security products in different markets. My role within this team was a Scrum Master, where I guided my team to successfully deliver eight products across six different markets, whilst adapting them to meet each market's specific needs. Along this journey, I built relationships and regularly engaged with stakeholders through weekly checkpoint calls where I walked them through the delivery roadmap.
Throughout my career, I have had numerous highlights. These vary from experiences within my team, to the network of friends that I have created. However, one standout experience which has significantly impacted my time at Vodafone, is TechBoost, an internal project that I am currently working on alongside other young professionals. Over the course of the six-month project, TechBoost has allowed me to delve deeper into various roles, take on greater responsibility, communicate effectively with stakeholders, and confidently lead my team through different challenges.
Thanks to this experience, I feel well-equipped to excel and make meaningful contributions to my project team.
The biggest challenge of my career so far has been facing tough decisions during projects and having doubts about my competence to handle the level of responsibility required. This led me to question whether Project Management was the right profession for me. However, after moving to a different area within Vodafone which aligned with my interests, I was able to better utilise my skillset. This boosted my confidence as I felt like I was adding value to my team.
I also discovered that experiencing difficulties in the workplace is typical, and that such hurdles allowed me to learn from my mistakes.
Vodafone empowers young professionals by prioritising development and growth through a supportive culture. This is demonstrated through various initiatives that are run, such as the Buddy Scheme and Mental Health First Aiders. The Buddy Scheme is an initiative that pairs experienced youth members with new joiners, providing guidance, support, and advice throughout their journey. Additionally, Vodafone's Mental Health First Aiders are a passionate group of volunteers, equipped and trained to support colleagues. Vodafone's implementation of this team shows their dedication to creating an understanding and respectful culture of mental health and reducing the stigma associated with it. Furthermore, the Youth Committee is a group of dedicated individuals who represent those on a Youth Programme across Vodafone. They serve as a primary point of contact for any concerns, feedback, or questions.
There are definitely opportunities to offboard within Vodafone when the apprenticeship comes to an end. However, this is dependent on whether there are roles available. I am hoping to stay with Vodafone after my apprenticeship and preferably within the team that I am currently in.
I am determined to shift the negative perceptions that are associated with Apprenticeships, to inspire individuals to choose this route as opposed to the traditional University route.
My words of advice would be:
- To research roles & companies early
- Reach out to companies about potential opportunities and to see when their apprenticeship windows open so you can prepare
- Create a CV and Cover Letter
- Understand companies values and embed this into all your questions
- Save all answers for applications into a file, as you can adapt them!
- And most importantly, be yourself!