Hello, I Am Chloe
I decided to apply for a degree apprenticeship because I loved the idea of gaining a degree qualification to develop my skill set and prepare me for an exciting career, but part of me knew that the traditional university route may not be right for me. To keep my options open I did apply to university, but I also started researching and applying to a wide range of different apprenticeships all based around my desired areas of business. I received all my university offers as well as several apprenticeship offers too so when it came to making my decision, I weighed up the list of pros and cons for each. The list of pros for apprenticeships was far higher than those for university and the con’s list for the apprenticeships was next to nothing! This was because the way I saw it I was gaining exactly the same degree I would have gotten if I had gone to university, without the student debt and instead 4 years' worth of experience in a well-known, well-established, and reputable global company. In addition, I would have the opportunity to work alongside, be mentored and supported by some of the best professionals in the industry whilst gaining valuable insight, skills and knowledge in many different areas which I could apply in a practical context. I would be able to get on the career ladder early whilst also earning a rewarding salary which has given me the opportunity to save and invest from a young age. I would also have the opportunity to build my personal brand and network. To me after considering all this, it was a no brainer, so I declined all my university offers, accepted my Apprenticeship position at Vodafone and I haven’t looked back since! I highly recommend this pathway to anyone considering it - I would make the same decision again in a heartbeat.
Tell us more about your experience
What are your interests outside of work?
Outside of work I love fitness and I also really enjoy playing football. When I'm not playing, I’m also involved as a football coach. Aside from fitness, I love being creative and I have a passion for art and design. I also really enjoy visiting new places and I hope to do more travelling in the future!
Can you describe your job and what you do on a day-to-day basis?
I work as a project/ program manager within an ITAM Team. ITAM stands for Information Technology Asset Management and is the practice of efficiently managing and optimising technology assets within an organisation's infrastructure. It is crucial for businesses as it enables effective control and compliance of their IT assets ensuring cost efficiency, security and streamlined operations. My role is focused on the projects and programs being run within the team across our global markets, and I am involved with the organisation, management and tracking of these large global projects. Prior to me joining, my team did already run projects and programs but didn’t necessarily incorporate consistent tracking of activities, updates, and documentation to assist the delivery and demonstrate the value they were providing. As a result of this, my role is to support the implementation of new processes, tools, strategies and methodologies to enhance our projects and programs overall but particularly our tracking and productivity of them. This has involved activities such as creating meetings with the project team to receive more consistent updates, ensuring project team members and stakeholders are accountable for the work they complete, creating a framework for effective task tracking and implementing a road map for successful task completion in line with our milestones and key delivery deadlines. I have also been fortunate enough to have been included and exposed to the financial and managerial aspects from shadowing and sitting in on meetings with senior management and authorities, this has given me a real insight into the wider organization's ways of working and strategies and goals for moving forward.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
In terms of my career, I am still fairly early in my journey, however in this short time I feel I have already had so many highlights. From being embedded within an awesome team with a great support network, to running mini projects, organising larger scale projects, building relationships with stakeholders, receiving recognition and being rewarded for the work I am supporting/ producing, right through to being given the opportunity to speak at a conference and be interviewed for an article about my experience as an Apprentice in ITAM. This is just a snapshot of the experiences I have had, but there are so many more - the opportunities are truly endless!
What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
The biggest challenge of my career so far has definitely been the adjustment from a school environment to the corporate world. It was a really daunting step to begin with and I had no idea what to expect but I took the leap, believed in myself and I've enjoyed every minute so far! I've also found the balance of juggling university and work challenging at times but the sense of accomplishment when delivering a piece of work, or handing in an assignment definitely makes the hard work feel worth it; I am constantly learning how I can better utilize my time and achieve more whilst keeping my workloads manageable. It's all about balance!
What sort of support network do you have at your company?
The support network I have is incredible. From the outset of my apprenticeship, we were made aware and familiar with the support framework and network of contacts available to us. Starting with my team and my manager, they have made me feel so welcome. They are really helpful, supportive, and understanding, and I feel confident that I can go to them with any queries or concerns I may have. In addition to this I also have a really supportive Buddy who was assigned to me from my onboarding process. They provide great advice and top tips but also share their experience with me and answer any questions I may have to make me feel reassured. We also have a youth community who are willing to support you with any issues you may face whilst trying to make your experience as enjoyable and enriching as possible. They organise events, well-being sessions, talks, charity challenges and more to allow us to communicate and network with new and existing apprentices and industry professionals.
What will happen at the end of your apprenticeship and have you discussed this with your employer?
At the end of my apprenticeship there may be the opportunity to offboard within my team or another department/ team within the business if there is a role available at that time. If I have the opportunity I would like to continue working for Vodafone after my apprenticeship.
What would be your words of advice to someone thinking about doing an apprenticeship?
Accepting my offer for a degree apprenticeship was the best decision I ever made, and I would make the same decision again in a heartbeat. If anyone has the opportunity to do a degree apprenticeship my advice is to do it. The way I see it is you have the possibility of gaining exactly the same qualification you would have got if you went to university, minus the student debt with the added bonus of a very healthy and stable salary, 4 years' worth of corporate industry experience, opportunities, mentoring and support, the possibility to expand your skill set in practical situations, and also an incredible opportunity to build your personal brand. My best advice for anyone considering an apprenticeship is to consider all of your options and weigh up the pros and cons of each, and potentially confide in someone who has taken the apprenticeship pathway. When it comes to the application process, prepare and research as much as you can about the role and the company. Demonstrate good self-awareness of your strengths, weaknesses and key characteristics and ensure to highlight key moments of experience and learning opportunities you have faced which could benefit you in the position you are applying for. Lastly, don’t be afraid to show your potential and be enthusiastic but make sure to be authentic and demonstrate what you bring and how you could utilize the opportunity.