We talked to Maria about her experiences as an apprentice at Capula, here's what she said:
Who or what inspired you to take up an apprenticeship at Capula?
My inspiration to take up this apprenticeship at Capula has been my parents, they have always been supportive of me. When I announced to them that I wanted more than the university-life experience and to start my career earlier, the idea of an apprenticeship had always been supported.
I saw the possibilities that I could achieve by enrolling in this apprenticeship, such as becoming an engineer and working with computers. I have always wanted to learn how computers, hardware and software function in-depth, especially in-use within a business environment.
I also knew that I did not want to solely go to university, I wanted a job as well. I wanted to think ahead and become involved in a programme that would suit both. I had thought about a part-time job and a computer programming university course, but I knew I wanted something much more solidified, and I also needed time to figure out a specific field of study, which I have managed to accomplish through the first year of my course. I was weighing up my options; I knew that taking up an apprenticeship was the better option since the annual pay is greater than that of just a part-time job.
Additionally, with apprenticeships, it is common for companies to fully cover the university fees. As I have said before with people wanting my opinion on what makes an apprenticeship so great, I have said that it is a win-win opportunity for an individual wanting to achieve the best of both worlds.
How has Capula supported you through your apprenticeship so far?
Capula has supported me in various ways through my apprenticeship so far. Primarily, they have given me my 20% off-the-job time, and this means that 20% of my employed work time is completely dedicated to my university studies. This 20% is 1 day per week of focussing solely on my university studies. The rest of my work time (or 80%) is on the job training. Secondly, they have supported me in my learning development through annual performance reviews and regular one-to-one reviews. Lastly, there is a number of qualified mental health personnel in the business. Upon experiencing difficult times, the team has always been willing to listen to me and help me wherever possible.
What skills have you developed during your apprenticeship?
Completing an apprenticeship requires strength, motivation, time-management, dedication and diligence - all five of these skills have been enhanced through figuring out how to balance my personal, university and work life.
What is your college / work life balance like?
Alluding back to my work-life balance, since there are multiple areas of focus, academic, work and personal, I have been able to balance these through creating a routine that works for me. I have been able to enhance the academic side by constantly completing objectives almost every day for a short amount of time so that I am not leaving myself to forget everything until my dedicated study time comes around. I have also incorporated fitness into my routine after work multiple times a week which helps to stabilise my mental and physical health. Currently, I have a fantastic balance of all three areas.
Have you been able to get involved in any major projects?
I have been involved in supporting the company with projects for multiple departments. I have had the opportunity of being the project manager for a couple of projects, and for others I have had smaller roles, however, still contributing to the company’s success. One of my greatest achievements was supporting remote workers, this project was recognised at Director level and highlighted during one of our company wide communication sessions. I was so proud to receive this recognition, and it helped me to network with other people and departments from across the business
What do you hope to do next?
I plan to continue with Capula for the foreseeable future and, at some point, I will transfer departments in order to utilise my cyber security skills elsewhere in the business. This is a potential thought for either the upcoming summer before my Final Year Project takes place, or potentially next year after I graduate as a Cyber Security Analyst in 2024.