Callum Keating's life-changing decision to join an apprenticeship | Deloitte UK has been saved
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As an 18 year old, I understand the life-changing decisions that school leavers face. That’s why I want to give an insight into what it’s really like to make the jump from school to the world of work. Here’s the story of my first few exciting months as a Deloitte apprentice.
Unclear about my future
At first I was very sceptical about my future. The majority of my friends were applying for University, attending open days, and anticipating an exciting three years in a completely new environment. But something didn’t feel right for me; my gut instinct stopped me from applying. If you feel University isn’t for you, it’s good to know that there are other fantastic opportunities that can lead to a successful career.
Deloitte intrigued me. Having spoken to people who’d worked at the firm for a while, it was clear that the opportunities here were endless. And I just knew that applying (and hopefully being accepted) would go on to be the best thing I ever did. The recruitment process was challenging, but definitely enjoyable. We were able to speak to the previous intake of apprentices during the assessment day, which helped ease my nerves and gave me some pointers for the interview. Not only was the whole assessment day really well organised, but the communication prior to the day itself was really calming.
A positive start
From the outset, I’ve felt trusted and treated like an adult. For example, we were all invited to a 3-day induction away from home, in Liverpool. This was a great opportunity to get to know each other and build a strong bond before entering the office environment. And it was a perfect way to start the 12-month apprenticeship.
Easing in to our first week
There’s no need to worry about being thrown straight in the deep end. Although the work is challenging, you’re eased into working full-time and taking on tasks by yourself. We were given a group project to start with, which tested our team work and initiative – two very important skills for every successful Deloitte employee. For some, the dress code can be a worry, but you can wear anything ‘Business Casual’, from shirt and trousers to a full suit.
Plenty of support
Every apprentice is supported by a mentor, throughout their apprenticeship. Your mentor can answer any questions you have, from general queries about a task to your future career prospects. You name it; they’ll find an answer to it. This has really helped me with my progression and has inspired me to become a mentor in the near future.
College work and the qualification
Part of the Entry-Level apprenticeship involves studying for a Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration. The course is very enjoyable and college lessons (once a fortnight) are relaxed, yet informative. Every other Tuesday, you are given time to revise, and I find this very beneficial.
I’ve never felt under pressure or unable to attain excellent college results. This is because we have great resources. We have full access to the college, including the library, which is stocked with course-related material. We’re given brand new tablets to access online revision material and contribute to our e-Portfolio. And we have dedicated time to study as a group – I found this a very effective revision tool.
I was unsure what to expect in terms of the workload, but I soon found out and adapted to the Engagement Support Centre’s system. You’re an assistant for certain engagement teams around the UK, but can end up completing tasks for colleagues all over the world.
If work coming in from your teams is minimal, you can ask the assigners for ad-hoc opportunities. This exposes you to a very wide range of tasks: anything from running reports to booking hotels. The variety is one of the main reasons I feel this apprenticeship is a great way to kick start your career.
Expanding your network starts on your very first day – at induction. It was a bit like the TV show ‘The Apprentice’, as we were given a task to complete with people from all over the UK, who we’d never met before. This was really enjoyable and brought us Cardiff Apprentices even closer; they feel like friends I’ve had forever.
Since then, I’ve been asked to travel to London to assist with a new Excel system that analyses Budget to Actual Hours. This was an exciting opportunity for me, as I’d never travelled to London on my own before. And I got the chance to speak to lots of people and find out how the work varies from office to office. Opportunities like this don’t come around often for 18 year olds.
An amazing chance to make an impact
If you’re willing to work hard, and want to make an impact, this could well be for you. You don’t have to go to University; there are amazing alternative opportunities and the Deloitte Apprenticeships are definitely one of them.