Becoming a Digital Apprentice – My Experience & Tips on Standing Out

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By John, Computer Science
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham

I’ve talked about why I applied to become a digital apprentice before, and the benefits it’s had on my university career, and, hopefully, the future benefits beyond that. There’s a clear advantage to having this opportunity than not having it.

The monetary benefits are probably some of the most impactful – getting an income for myself allowed me to become much more independent and learn about managing money much better than my previous year of university (my foundation year). However, the most important part of this experience would be the support and the other opportunities this brings. As this apprenticeship has a mandatory business module, I have spent some time interviewing Vodafone staff about the business – an opportunity that would never have come had I not become an apprentice.

However, becoming part of this opportunity wasn’t always easy. I’ve applied to several different courses and have been to multiple interview days, so I feel like I should give a few pointers to anyone who wants to try and apply for such an opportunity.

Probably the most important thing to start with is to do your research before applying – in two ways. Firstly, it’s important to know which opportunities are out there. As I’ve said previously, I only found out about the digital apprenticeship offered by Birmingham after searching for Computer Science degree courses for multiple universities.

Secondly, it’s important to learn about the company, and its values and what the apprenticeship itself holds. Just like a job interview, it’s important to know what you’re getting into, as it shows in your attitude and demeanour during various interview stages. Using your knowledge and then asking considered questions allows you and the interviewer to better learn if you are right for them and more importantly if they’re right for you.

One of the most important things to do to prepare for an interview process is to do with your mindset. A lot of companies are looking for people who want to learn and study, as well as take advantages and opportunities to grow and become a better person, student and developer, which all translates to a better employee by the end of the apprenticeship period. Therefore, it’s important to have a growth mindset – be set in growing and taking the majority of opportunities that arise in the future.

Finally, as with any university application, it’s about selling yourself. Both the university and the company will be looking for people who are most qualified for their respective organisations, and you want to be fitting in both categories. This starts from even before you submit your UCAS application – from the personal statement, right up until your exams end. Showing the best of yourself is exactly what you should be doing.

Hopefully, this will help some of you out a bit, as many of these tips will help in both university and job application in the future.