Apprentice Role Insight - Consulting Apprentice

Here, here! One of our fantastic Apprentices has kindly taken the time to give all readers of the BeYourFuture blog an insight into his role inside one of the biggest tech companies on the planet, and how he got here...

Name: Jacob McQuillan

Role: Consulting Apprentice

Department: Microsoft Services

Location: Thames Valley Park (TVP)

A bit about me

After finishing my GCSE’s at John Madejski Academy in Reading, I attended UTC Reading and studied BTEC IT and A-Level Computer Science, leaving with the equivalent of three A-Levels. I had been looking at getting an apprenticeship instead of university, as what I would have studied at university, Computer Science; the degree course spent the first year and a half covering topics I had already learned at A-Level, including how I much prefer being in a working environment as opposed to education.
I applied to a lot of apprenticeships and had a lot of offers, but Microsoft was always the one that stood out to me, the IT industry is always shifting and changing, and Microsoft is always at the front or leading the change and innovation. Not to mention that it’s one of the biggest companies in the world with so many opportunities.

My Application Process

Firstly, getting your CV sorted is a great way to start your application. Speak to someone at your school, university or college to help you with your application. The next part was a quiz called a Psychometric test, where you are given situations and you need to select the response you think would be best to fit that situation. Next was the video interview! This was weird as there was no one to talk to, and it’s just you and a web camera or your phone! Make sure you dress smartly to give a good first impression and answer the questions calmly, and remember it doesn’t matter if you stumble on a few words. The next was the assessment centre, now this was my favourite part of the application process, going into Microsoft campus and doing a series of challenges, presentations and an interview to top it all off. It was very relaxed and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. After that was the wait for around a week to find out if I was successful, and I was (Yay!) and if you do get this far and aren’t, there is a current apprentice who applied the year before and now has a role here, so don’t give up!
My top tip would be don’t worry if you haven’t got much experience with IT! There are people here who aren’t very confident with their IT skills so don’t let that put you off.

My Role

My role as an apprentice means I am here for 18 months, and I will be doing my job as a consultant, as well as completing a Level 3 Diploma in Software Development.
So firstly my role as a Consultant is to create software for businesses that many of you reading this will probably have heard of, used, or are even using right now. So far as of writing this blog I have been involved in internal projects only, meaning that I have been working on internal websites and things; but by January 2016 I will more than likely be working on customer projects. For those techy people who can understand this gibberish, I have been using C#, Java, Knockout and XAML so far.
I work in the UK Services team, I would be more specific, but I can’t as there is a lot of movement between projects, however services deliver projects to businesses that have contracts with Microsoft.
My qualification is a Level 3 and is the equivalent of an A-Level you might get at wither a 6th form or college, so you still have a qualification when you finish, as well as experience working within a company environment. The software development course is all about building software and learning how to code, but don’t let that put you off as there are other courses that you can take as an apprentice if you aren’t very technical.

My Microsoft Experience so far...

So far I have thoroughly enjoyed working here, I feel as if I have to pinch myself every time I use my badge to come through the doors; it really is an amazing place to work. Everyone here is so friendly and always willing to help you out and have a chat so long as you buy them a coffee. I was however honestly surprised with how well people get on here, everyone is so nice and welcoming to everyone. I also joined the Microsoft Football Team when I started thanks to another apprentice who was here before me, and that alone has been incredible, meeting new people while playing football has been great fun, working in a team as well as keeping fit.

My #1 tip for making the most of your time here...

Network with people, make yourself known within your department and the wider business. Interested in sales? Go and find someone to have a coffee with and chat to them. There are so many great people here who are willing to help you and have a chat about what they do, it’s very interesting learning what different people do.

Eager to read more?