Did you relocate, if so how did you find it?
I am based in the Reading office, but I have relocated from King’s Lynn, Norfolk. I found relocating quite difficult at first due to being so far away from my family, however I found it easier due to CGI recruiting a large number of graduates and apprentices at the same time, so there were lots of people in the same situation as me.
When looking for somewhere to live, CGI were helpful as they added all new-joiners to a Facebook group, this enabled us to speak to people in the same situation with starting a new job/moving away from home. This also allowed us to plan a meal to meet other new joiners before our first day. CGI also offered £1000 in relocation expenses, which including the first month’s rent which many companies do not offer.
Your current role at CGI: role name and overview. What does this job entail (eg. what do you typically do day-to-day)?
My current role is Junior Test Analyst and I work on the Device Readiness Team which is part of the Smart Metering Program within the UK, North & Australia Business Unit. My typical day-to-day work is preparing devices to be tested on. This involves liaising with both clients and the test lab. My work is dependent on other teams in the office, so I often have to work alongside them for both preparation of devices and any problems encountered.
What do you enjoy about working for CGI?
The thing I enjoy the most about working for CGI are the benefits offered to members. CGI offer great schemes for both pensions and buying shares. Everyone I have met in the office so far have been friendly and welcoming. They also treat you the same as any other member, despite being younger and less experienced, this has allowed me to be given responsibilities within my role. CGI also arrange a variety of social events through the SSC – these events range from weekly football to work nights out. We are also offered the opportunity to volunteer for open evenings and events where we are able to share our experiences with the recruitment process whilst networking.
What is your top tip for someone considering the CGI and the apprenticeship?
I applied for many different apprenticeships, but I found CGI suited me the best. I would always advise people to look around for the company that feels right for them, especially if they are moving 150 miles away from home. I asked many questions during the process, which put both me and my family at ease.
I think it’s really important to ensure you are happy before making any decisions on moving away from home. I applied for many apprenticeships, and attended 9 assessment centres but found that CGI were the best fit for me.
When you are applying, make sure you put your answers to the questions in a word document as often the website times out! If you are invited to an assessment centre, make sure you know about CGI – as this will definitely be asked. It is also important that you realise how much work will be involved with working whilst studying, so it is less of a shock to you when it comes to deadlines being set.
Why you chose an apprenticeship over university?
I chose an apprenticeship over university as I did not want to attend university full-time, but I knew that I would need a degree to enable me to get the role I wanted. By choosing this route, it has allowed me to avoid student loans, whilst gaining experience in a role (and earning a salary!) I have also found that I have more support around me than some of my friends that are at university full-time.
As there are a large group of apprentices at CGI, it is easy to find someone if you are stuck with assignments. CGI also offer all apprentices a mentor who you are able to meet with weekly to discuss both university and work related issues.
How an apprenticeship has benefitted you?
I have found the part I enjoy about the apprenticeship the most to be working in the CGI office, this has enabled me to network with people on a daily-basis and gain experience within a professional environment. It has also helped me develop my professional skills which vary from speaking to different teams within the office to sending emails to clients.
This apprenticeship has helped me to balance my time between work and studying. As I am completing a full-time degree alongside working full-time, I always worried about fitting everything in. However, I have found that by adjusting my schedule I am able to fit in working and studying alongside having a social life. I would definitely recommend to prioritise tasks that are set by the University, but still ensure you have enough time to relax and spend time with your friends and family.
Maria, who works in the CGI Early Careers team, embraced a golden opportunity five years ago when she embarked on a sponsored degree apprenticeship.
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