Hello, I Am Melissa
October 2021 Ambassador of the Month
"If I could give any advice to someone contemplating an apprenticeship, I would say to definitely do one! I’ve never looked back."
Tell us more about your experience
It can be a little tricky to explain my role at Cisco, but I’ll try my best! We don’t join as a ‘Network Engineer’, or even any specific role at all. We do these things called rotations where each recruit will spend 3 to 6 months in a team and working with them to see if you’re interested in that job role. That’s why we’re called Cross-Functional apprentices. We get to discover loads of different areas in the business, and then by the end, hopefully, find the role that we like and graduate into that specific position!
The most exciting project I’ve been a part of while in my time at Cisco has definitely been co-hosting to over 3000 employees live! It was nerve-wracking but after I felt so accomplished.
”It’s easy to say that the proudest moment in my apprenticeship was getting into the apprenticeship team itself. I felt so proud to be part of the team and be able to work alongside everyone else.”
The main reason I decided against going to uni was the idea of a student loan and the debt! I did initially think about attending university, but when I found out about degree apprenticeships after doing my work experience at Cisco, I thought it was an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t let up. It was amazing to get to work and get paid – I have experience now, and a degree!
If I could give any advice to someone contemplating an apprenticeship, I would say to definitely do one! I’ve never looked back. It’s good to always apply to lots of places in case you might not get into the one you originally wanted. Degree apprenticeships especially are becoming increasingly competitive, so don’t worry if you don’t get the role. You can always try again in the future.
”I didn’t know about GetMyFirstJob when I was applying, but I wish I did. It’s a great resource if you’re considering any type of apprenticeship!”
I don’t think I’ve had to face any adversity before or during my apprenticeship. Women in tech is a big topic at the moment, but at Cisco, they’re being really good. The male to female ratio of apprentices is about the same! I’ve also had some great support from QA – they’re good. We have a skills coach there who is really helpful, and we meet regularly. The online classes are also very fun and engaging.
From my time in my apprenticeship, I think the greatest skill I’ve learnt is that not knowing what you want to do yet is okay! Everyone in the business is constantly moving into different roles as what they want to do at that time is constantly changing. After the apprenticeship, I haven’t quite decided what I want to yet job roles wise. I’m at the end of my second year so time is ticking!
Interested in becoming an ambassador? Find out more!