After leaving college with A’ levels Celine Williams was unsure about what to do next, but she knew she wanted to focus on a career that would provide her with opportunities for the future.
Celine now works as a UK Security Analyst at IBM whilst studying for a Tech Industry Gold accredited degree apprenticeship at the University of Exeter.
Read about Celine’s experience and the benefits of a Tech Industry Gold accredited degree apprenticeship, combining work experience with a university degree.
What qualifications did you have when you left school?
I left school with 12 GCSEs A*- C and A levels in Maths, Computing, Drama and Theatre Studies as well as an EPQ.
What did you do immediately after leaving school/college?
After I finished college, I carried on working in my part-time job and took on more hours. This allowed me to save up some money to go travelling around South East Asia. It was at this time I also applied for a place on IBM’s gap year programme, as I felt I needed to try and focus on a career to stop myself from coasting and to ensure I was still learning.
How did you get interested in working in an IT/Digital environment?
Technology was something I had been interested in from a young age. I remember sitting with my grandad learning how a computer worked and being fascinated. I worked part-time in a retail outlet that sold consumer technology providing technical assistance and educational support. The experience in this role taught me that technology can enhance people’s lives and make a real difference which is what inspired me to work in the industry.
How did you first become aware of apprenticeship opportunities at your workplace?
I was aware that IBM ran a degree apprenticeship scheme as I was offered a place on their gap year programme. However, I did not have the grades to apply for it. After speaking to a few of IBM’s Early Professional Managers and having completed a year working at IBM, they gave me their support to apply for a place on the Tech Industry Gold accredited degree apprenticeship.
What is the best part of your current job, what sort of support do you receive?
The best part of my role as a Security Intelligence Analyst is the opportunity to learn new skills. Today’s security landscape is ever-changing, which requires organisations to be one step ahead of a potential cyber-attack. This role enables me to be agile and develop my technical knowledge.
The support I receive as an apprentice is unparalleled. I have one manager to support my professional progression and another manager to support my personal progression. It is reassuring to have this support if I have any issues with either my role or my university studies.
What is your experience of the Tech Industry Gold accredited degree apprenticeship so far?
I am now at the end of my first year and it has been one of the biggest learning curves of my life. Balancing university studies, working and home life is really important. Making sure I am not overworking but still being on top of everything is challenging but doable. I have made so many friends, as well as building my professional network through my apprenticeship, which has been invaluable.
What are your ultimate career interests/ambitions?
My aim is to move into a technical role within the Incident Response sector of security and be at the front line of client support. The role involves remediating security breaches, figuring out the motive and tactics of a cyber attack, and educating clients on clear actions.
What would you say to someone considering studying a Tech Industry Gold accredited degree apprenticeship?
Make sure you have carried out extensive research on the company offering the Tech Industry Gold accredited degree apprenticeship to ensure you’re the best fit.