Hello, I Am Katherine
An apprenticeship really is a fantastic opportunity!
Tell us more about your experience
Apprenticeship Job Title and Employer:
Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprentice and Apprentice Co-ordinator for BT
Training Provider and Qualification:
Digital Technology Solutions Degree Apprentice at Ravensbourne University London
September 2018 - September 2022
What are your interests outside of work?
I absolutely love going to the theatre, whether it’s a musical or a regular play (musicals are probably my favourite though!). I've always had a huge passion for the arts, and I used to perform a lot as a child/teenager. In the past few years, I’ve started running, completing my first half marathon in March 2020, raising over £300 for Mind! I've since taken part in other charity runs, such as for Parkinson's Disease, and raised a little over £400. I also love being able to travel and visit new places - whenever I go on holiday, I try to make a habit out of visiting somewhere I've never been before!
Rating of apprenticeship out of 5:
My Apprenticeship Story
I previously studied English Literature and Drama at university, before pursuing a career in education. I then returned to learning as an apprentice to gain a new skill set and career. Making such a big career change was incredibly significant to me, but I was so motivated and dedicated to finding a role I was passionate about.
“When I saw my scheme advertised online, I decided to go for it – and I’m so glad I did!”
I was nervous at first, knowing that others that would leave the scheme would be school leavers, whereas I’d come from uni/full-time work. Yet, in the end, it has only made me more eager to represent those who are looking to start an apprenticeship – especially for those who wouldn’t normally fit the ‘usual’ apprentice category.
Within BT TV, I’ve rotated roles every six months as part of the scheme. I’ve sought out projects which enable me to be seen as more than just an apprentice while gaining a multitude of technical and transferable skills. I have been within BT TV's Video on Demand Content team, and in platform support. As well as these roles, I’ve worked in teams that support the BT Sport App, and one which monitors BT's Media & Broadcast networks!
Some of my favourite projects have involved BT's new smart broadcast network and helping on our new set-top box. Being involved in such a high-scale projects, even as an apprentice, is incredibly exciting. It has also allowed for me to be shortlisted for industry recognised awards, such as TechWomen100 and the Women in IT Awards.
Although it was technically before my career at BT had even officially started, one of my proudest moments at BT was at my assessment centre. When I walked in, I was the only female in the room among the other candidates. I felt overwhelmed with a desire to represent my female peers, knowing I had an excellent opportunity to do so. I hope to encourage women and young people with no prior experience, who may be apprehensive to pursue a career in this field. I want to continue to dedicate my time to attending careers fairs, webinars and more to encourage apprentices and women in STEM.
“If you’re considering an apprenticeship, do it!”
You’ll have a brilliant time learning new skills, challenging yourself, while meeting like-minded individuals who’ll be there to support and encourage you. It really is a fantastic opportunity! Coming from a non-technical background and being a female in the industry can be daunting. It’s been so easy to compare myself to others on the scheme, some of whom have literally been coding and building PC’s since they were 8! With the support of my colleagues and a lot of time and effort, I’ve developed so much confidence in my role.
I’ve begun to learn how to code and am on track to receive a first in my university degree. It goes to show that you can do anything when you put your mind to it. The support from BT and my peers have been amazing. In each rotation, we’re allocated a buddy. Often, your buddy is someone who used to be an apprentice. They understand the difficulty of juggling a qualification and full-time work, and they’re there to support you every step of the way.
“While the technical skills I’ve developed are a bit more obvious as they’re a part of my role, there are loads of other skills you gain when doing an apprenticeship.”
My confidence and communication skills have grown massively – whether by running meetings with senior leaders of the company, to taking part in webinars and talks with stakeholders. BT encourages me to push myself out of my comfort zone; from August 2021, I’ll be taking on the role of Apprentice Coordinator. That means as a fourth-year apprentice, I’ll now be the line manager to apprentices in the years below! Developing my skills as a manager this early on in my career is a positive sign of what’s yet to come!
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