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If you’re a more practical hands-on learner, like me, an apprenticeship could be a perfect route for you to get into the world of work. I became an apprentice because I wanted to throw myself into working life but didn’t want my education to stop.

As an apprentice, you’ll able to see learnings in real life scenarios and develop core business skills whilst you learn the fundamentals of how a business operates. There are many others benefits to an apprenticeship too, such as earning whilst you learn, and gaining vital work experience and connections to grow your professional network. There’s a massive support system from the education provider and the company you work for to help you along the way too, so you never feel like you’re in it alone.

Female apprentice sitting at table in study café, using Surface Book (screen not shown). A Surface Pro and another laptop are also in use at table she shares.

Future-proof your career

Apprenticeships set you up for success in your future career. They push all your skills and help you progress on your weaknesses by pushing you outside of your comfort zone. Not only do they provide you with a qualification that will be recognised by most companies, they also promote your soft skills such as communication, collaboration, and analytical thinking which help to build the core skills that will prepare you for the future of work.

Throughout my own apprenticeship journey, I’ve learnt how to communicate with people around the business in a more professional manner. I have also learnt how to build relationships with members of the team and the customers we work with. Learning about our technology along the way, I’ve gained vital skills that will help me in any future job prospects too.

Image of group collaborating while working on Black Surface Pro 6 inside office

A supportive, open culture

The culture at Microsoft is very encouraging. With a “come as you are, do what you love” culture, they encourage all employees to be original and own their personal brand image. This creates a motivating and creative environment where everyone supports each other and leverages each other’s strengths. I’ve always felt I can be myself and that it’s OK to ask to help.

Apprentices have a massive support system from the team they join. The HR team are also a huge part of your support network, especially when it comes to on-boarding. This helpful nature extends to the wider department where everyone is approachable and nothing is too much trouble for anyone. It’s clear that everybody wants you to succeed here and there are no wrong questions.

My manager arranges bi-weekly catch up calls and offers support by answering any of the questions I have. I’m pushed to reach my full potential by being put in contact with people who can further support me with my learning and development. They have also encouraged me to work on my strengths by giving me opportunities to grow and work on my weaknesses through projects I haven’t yet done before, or may not be 100 percent confident in.

My manager encourages me to build on my strengths by working on relevant projects as well as developing my weaknesses by gaining new experiences. Taking the apprenticeship route was a brilliant way for me to get into the working world while gaining industry recognised qualifications. I get to practically apply my learnings whilst I develop both the digital and soft skills I need in order to future-proof my career.

My tips for a successful apprenticeship journey

For those of you who are looking to pursue an apprenticeship as an alternative route to work, here are a few of my tips to help you with your journey – from completing your application to your making the most of your time in the business:

  • When applying, show your personality through your CV – businesses look for people who can bring difference to the table!
  • Always be true to what you have previously done – don’t fluff your CV to try and impress the recruiters.
  • Don’t be afraid to dive into the projects that scare you – you’ll be supported the whole way.
  • Take every opportunity to show and grow your strengths.
  • Create a great support network of mentors, colleagues, and friends.

About the author

Lily is a level 4 apprentice working alongside a talented team in the Customer Success Unit. After 6 months in role she’s had the opportunity to visit customers around the country, as well as helping and teaching them to use Microsoft products to the best of their ability. She’s also been able to get involved in projects outside of her job role to further her career development, such as planning a STEM event for school girls and taking part in DigiGirlz.