On 5 March 2019 the IPT welcomed a number of apprentices to an evening event also attended by business representatives and members of both the House of Commons and House of Lords.
The event discussed the skills and training necessary to ensure the UK has a world-leading workforce in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Specifically, the event aimed to explore the role apprenticeships will play as an alternative to more traditional forms of education and professional development.
Following the event, we caught up with Libby Barton, a Marketing and Communications Apprentice at Cisco, to ask her about what led her to choosing an apprenticeship and her experiences so far.
Why did you choose your apprenticeship programme?
I chose to do an apprenticeship programme because I knew it suited the way I learnt. I believe that hands-on-experience has enabled me to understand the industry but also leave my mark. I am encouraged to challenge existing processes and push myself to always do better.
How is your organisation supporting you during your apprenticeship?
Within the apprenticeship programme at Cisco, there is a great management team which enables development opportunities across the business, plus a mentorship programme supports us during our training but also our personal development.
How do you think your friends and family view the fact you are doing an apprenticeship?
My family were very supportive due to not going to university themselves. The transition into a full-time job straight after education was a positive and they saw the benefit of learning while earning. The added bonus of gaining a degree was the unique selling point for me, as it put me on an equal playing field with the rest of the industry.
What do you think could be done to improve support for apprentices such as yourself?
The general view of apprentices means that sometimes we are overlooked. I truly believe we add so much value to the business and getting credit for that is something that we receive within the company. On the other hand, outside the business, there is still a great stigma and I believe it could hold people back from deciding to do an apprenticehsip.