Former students Lisa and Edward returned to Astley recently to talk to our Sixth Form students about degree level apprenticeships with Accenture. Accenture is one of the world’s largest technology services companies delivering projects including YouView and the biometric passport readers at Heathrow Airport.
Lisa and Edward secured three year apprenticeships at Accenture Newcastle. They are gaining excellent work experience while working towards the BSc Digital Technology and Solutions Apprenticeship Degree.
Q&A WITH LISA AND EDWARD
Which subjects did you study at ACHS Sixth Form?
Lisa: Physics AS Level, Art and Maths A level, BTEC Travel and Tourism.
Edward: ICT, Business and Creative Media gaining three BTEC Distinction*
How did you find out about the Accenture Apprenticeship?
Edward: Mr Drought had arranged a lot of different careers, apprenticeship advisors and universities to talk to Astley students about different opportunities available after Sixth Form. I always wanted to follow the apprenticeship route.
Lisa: I didn’t want to go to university and the Accenture apprenticeship scheme was the only thing that held any interest for me. I spoke to a few of my parents’ friends and I quickly became aware of Accenture’s outstanding reputation in the business world.
How did you apply for the Accenture Apprenticeship?
Lisa: Online during the spring/summer of Year 13. I then had an online interview and was invited to the assessment centre to complete a team work exercise and separate interview where I gave a presentation about my favourite invention. I started my apprenticeship in September 2018.
How is your time split between your work projects and your apprenticeship degree?
Edward: We work on live projects as part of a team four days a week and attend university every Friday to study for the BSc Digital Technology and Solutions degree. You can study at The University of Sunderland, or at Newcastle College where the degree is provided by Teesside University.
We have study groups at Accenture where apprentices do university work at the end of the working day. It helps having colleagues that you can ask for help or advise on assignments.
What types of organisations do Accenture provide technology services to?
Edward and Lisa: Clients include the NHS, O2, Google, HMRC, Post Office, DWP, Apple and Met Police among many others. Accenture helped provide a solution to the ‘Wanna Cry’ virus that hit the NHS in 2018.
What do you like most about your Apprenticeship?
Edward: You meet people who have the same passion for technology as you.
Lisa: The freedom that the apprenticeship provides. The role is flexible so you could switch to a non-technological job such as project management, the degree remains the same.
Would you recommend the Apprenticeship route? Why?
Edward: Yes, to everyone. You are working, earning, gaining experience and the degree is paid for by the company. At the end of my apprenticeship this year, I will be offered a graduate position in the company, at which point I go to the Accenture Training Centre in Madrid for two weeks to learn more about different job roles.
Lisa: There’s lots of training so you’re constantly upskilling yourself and your CV. You spend the first eight weeks on a ‘boot camp’ which ranges from how to turn on a computer to how to code as well as Agile and other non-technical training. You meet the staff and get to know the other apprentices. Apprentices are part of the team and you do get thrown in at the deep end a bit so you gain valuable experience. If you choose not to stay at the end of the three years, you have your foot in the door to the business world and the experience and training to give you an edge.
What advice would you give to our current Sixth Form students?
Lisa: A technology background isn’t necessary so don’t let that put you off. Just give it a go and find out what it’s all about. There are so many different roles and opportunities out there, you just have to look.
Edward: Put in the effort, keep trying and don’t let failure stop you. There are opportunities for everyone if you have a positive, can do attitude and are willing to work as part of a team. These things are all important for being successful.
For careers information and guidance speak to Mr Drought.
Visit Accenture's website for more information about their Apprenticeship opportunities.