I’m in my final year of Visa’s Apprenticeship scheme which lasts 3 years; it’s a fantastic program and I am really enjoying it!
I knew I’d like to do an apprenticeship from around the age of 16. I could see that I enjoyed learning and benefited from it far more when I was actually doing something, rather than sitting and listening. During my A-Levels I really enjoyed computing, partly because it was technical but also because technology is such a fast moving environment. I chose the Visa apprenticeship because it’s the perfect medium between business and these technical interests.
I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anybody considering it; I think that people largely underestimate what you’ll achieve and that as an apprentice, you can see the progression in the long term. However, I believe it is important to make clear that they are not for everyone; I think certain people suit an apprenticeship whereas for others it is simply not the right choice for them.
Within Visa there are endless opportunities from the apprenticeship scheme. I have had so many chances to travel, meet new people and therefore build up a network of connections. At Visa, I’m treated just like any other member of staff. It’s very focused on making us get involved in the work and I get the same benefits as everybody else.
I started looking for apprenticeships on GetMyFirstJob and the Gov.uk website, originally small businesses looking at hiring apprentices. The more I looked into these programs this didn’t appeal to me as much. I wanted to be involved with a large brand that offered noticeable long-term career progression. I enjoy working here because I can see what I do in the real world. For example, I’ve worked on projects that I see being used by people on the street in my daily life.
Throughout this apprenticeship with Visa, you spend six months in different teams and rotate round the teams and then during the final year you choose what team you’d prefer to work in. With this it means that all of us (there are 10 apprentices in my cohort) get a different experience and get to work on different projects.
I’m currently working within the Problem Management function. This means that when a problem is raised in the company, be it business or technology related, we are responsible for managing them. I am involved in finding the cause, managing it and then overseeing it through to the fix being implemented. I’m left to do my own thing and they trust me and slowly build up your level of responsibility throughout the programme.
I don’t think there’s a better way to build your career than an apprenticeship. You can see your career panning out with every day, and Visa can offer great paths to reach all your career goals. It is preparing me perfectly.
If you decide to do an apprenticeship, make sure you meet as many people as possible when you do it. Connections are important. You need to remember an apprenticeship is different from Uni, your friends at Uni will get the Summer off but you’ll be working. It’s things like that where you need to consider if it’s right for you.