Robyn Cook | 04 Mar 2019

National Apprenticeship Week - Talking to a Former IT Apprentice

National Apprenticeship Week is an annual nation-wide event to celebrate apprentices across the country. You can follow the week’s celebrations on Twitter via the hashtag #NAW2019, or via the Apprenticeships Twitter page.

We are catching up with Marj, who joined CEMAR in 2016 as an Advanced ICT Apprentice. Since completing her apprenticeship, Marjona has been working in our Development and Infrastructure team as a Software Test Analyst and putting her learning into practice.

Whilst studying her apprenticeship, Marj won Gloucestershire College’s IT Apprentice of the Year Award, previously won by another CEMAR apprentice. She has also achieved her ISTQB qualification, and has become involved in our sponsorship of the WISE Campaign.

We sat down with Marj to find out a bit more about how her job role has evolved since she completed the apprenticeship programme.

Q: What were your initial perceptions of an apprenticeship?
A: When I was at school an apprenticeship wasn’t something I considered, and it wasn’t something that was promoted very heavily. Going to university and getting a graduate job was the norm!

Q: You went to university before starting your apprenticeship. How did the experiences differ?
A: It wasn’t until I decided my Accounting degree wasn’t my passion that I realised I would be able to gain work experience plus a qualification at the same time with an apprenticeship. Once people I went to school with started graduating and I already had three years’ work experience, I realised I had made the right choice for me.

Q: You completed your apprenticeship in 2017, what have you been up to since?
A: After I completed, I started as a Junior Test Analyst and progressed to becoming a full Software Test Analyst. I have now completed my Advanced ISTQB qualification and I have been able to build on my job responsibilities. I am still learning more about software testing every day!

Q: You are involved with the WISE Campaign, which aims to encourage women to consider more STEM-based careers. IT can be perceived as a masculine sector, what advice would you offer other girls wanting to get into the industry?
A: I haven’t faced a gender imbalance whilst working at CEMAR, but I would say that if you enjoy something, go out and do it regardless of stereotypical perceptions. This is true of any industry. Don’t allow yourself to be boxed in, if you’re passionate about something… just go for it!

If you are considering an apprenticeship in software, take a look at our careers page where all our current jobs are listed. We are always looking for passionate people to design, develop and maintain our Software as a Service.

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