From teacher to student: Primary school teacher decoding life as an apprentice.
Nikita Williams, from Caerphilly, studied education at university and was working as a teacher until she discovered her true passion lay learning, alongside her pupils, to code.
“Educating young people is heavily focussed on technology and its application in the real world. Students as young as ten know how to code, and I realised I was learning from them as much as they were from me. I found that I wasn’t enjoying the job I was doing, and my students had opened my eyes to the possibility, and joy, of a career in technology.”
Nikita decided to explore the options that would enable her to change career, and a friend directed her to a Degree Apprenticeship at global technology firm Capgemini.
Breaking the mould
Despite finding the prospect of changing career daunting at first Nikita is now an applications consultant, completing a Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship with University of South Wales. She spends her days developing and writing scripts of code for use in automated testing for a range of clients, which allows the machine testing of software and allows apps to reach the market in a much shorter time frame.
“When I was choosing my career path during A-levels apprenticeships still had a bit of a stigma attached to them, but that absolutely isn’t the case now.
“I had a great job with a steady income when I chose to start my apprenticeship. I joined Capgemini as part of a large group of apprentices, all from different backgrounds, and we all support each other. I know a few people who chose to take the apprenticeship route from school, and as a result they all have careers they love: they were able to develop really specific skill-sets as well as get workplace experience and earn a salary.
“When I started my apprenticeship I did wonder if I was out of my depth, but I’ve learnt so quickly. I’m applying the theory I’ve learnt in university to real situations and my confidence has increased as a result. I can’t wait to see what other skills I will develop as I progress in the programme
The importance of making an informed decision
“I’d encourage teenagers getting their results this summer, and their parents, to explore all of the options available, rather than just doing what you think is expected. Even if you’re a bit older and worried you’ve made the wrong choice, you can change your mind like I did. The important thing to remember is there are always options.”