Find out how Amy became an Oracle Applications Consultant
Throughout school, Amy Grange had always had her heart set on attending university. So her change of heart and decision to undertake a degree apprenticeship was a surprise to her family, teachers and friends. Embarking on a Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship at Capgemini in 2012, Amy’s decision has brought her a wealth of opportunities to rapidly advance her career. Having completed her apprenticeship and graduated with a first-class degree from Aston University, Amy is working as an Oracle Applications Consultant – having been promoted five times in as many years. She has big plans to continue to climb the career ladder and make a name for herself, not just at Capgemini, but in the tech industry.
Taking the plunge
Amy Grange, 23, from Bury, has always had her sights set high. Having had a strong academic record throughout school and being Deputy Head Girl, Amy seemed set to be the first in her family to go to university and had made plans to study a Psychology degree. However, as part of the first cohort who would be paying the £9,000 a year university fees, Amy felt uneasy about the prospect of getting into significant debt before she’d even started a career and thus took the initiative to explore the other options available to her.
Searching online, the vast opportunities offered by the degree apprenticeship programme at Capgemini took Amy by surprise. With little previous knowledge of apprenticeships, particularly degree apprenticeships, from careers talks at school, the opportunity to get a degree, earn a wage, travel, and work for a leading employer all seemed too good to be true. Amy immediately applied for the apprenticeship alongside her university applications, but kept it initially from her parents, as was unsure about what their reaction would be to her potentially not pursing the traditional university route.
Amy explains: “Me going to university was a fairly big deal in my house. I’d be the first in the family to go and that’s something which I knew would make my parents proud.” She continues: “Sitting my parents down and telling them I was going to do an apprenticeship over going to university was tricky. They, like me, couldn’t believe that an apprenticeship could offer a degree, learning on the job, a wage and all the additional opportunities that come with working for an organisation like Capgemini. But, once they realised the kind of career that could lie ahead for me, they were incredibly supportive of my decision and knew it was the right option.”
After completing her A Levels, Amy moved out of her family home in Bury and down to London to start her five-year apprenticeship, joining a cohort of 26 other degree apprentices, as one of 4 women. After participating in an eight-week intensive training course on-campus at Aston University, Amy was quickly thrown into fast-paced life as a Capgemini employee, travelling around the country to work with high-profile clients on a variety of projects.
Amy explains: “Doing a degree apprenticeship meant I was always kept busy – either working or studying – but all whilst doing something that I loved and with great support from my team. It was certainly hard work but being able to put into practice what I’d been learning almost immediately was incredibly satisfying and only made me want to learn more!”
A degree apprenticeship has led Amy to face some challenging situations, including taking on leadership positions at a young age and dealing with high-profile clients and stakeholders and other more senior members of staff.
Amy remarks: “At first I was apprehensive about being assigned some of these roles – I felt too junior to be taking on such significant positions of responsibility. But, my team had so much confidence in me that I started to believe I could do it too and I feel enormously privileged to have been surrounded by people that supported and believe in me in that way – particularly as a young woman in STEM.”
She continues: “In fact, that would be one of my top tips to other apprentices, take advantage of the knowledge of those working around you and don’t be afraid to ask questions. At Capgemini, people are always willing to lend a helping hand and getting feedback and advice is the only way you can grow.”
Star on the rise
Amy has undoubtedly thrown herself into the working world and is as enthusiastic to encourage others to follow in her footsteps, often going into local schools and talking at career events about her experience as an apprentice and as a woman working in STEM. Amy’s apprenticeship has also led her to appear live on Sky News, be interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’ and lead a campaign to reach 10,000 people with talks about apprenticeships for National Apprenticeship Week 2017.
Amy explains: “My apprenticeship has not only given me a huge leg up on the career ladder, its opened doors to opportunities I never would have had going to university.” She continues: “I feel incredibly proud to have been an apprentice and want everyone I meet to know that.”
Following the completion of her degree, Amy is excited to continue to focus on her role as an Oracle Applications Consultant and start working towards a leadership role within Capgemini. She concludes: “I could not recommend an apprenticeship more. Anyone who is determined and ambitious, an apprenticeship is for you. I won’t deny its hard work, but the benefits are massive and it’s a unique opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of your chosen industry and kickstart an amazing career. Just go for it!”