Thinking of applying for Earn as you Learn, our apprenticeship scheme where school leavers study for a degree in Computing Systems part time, while getting valuable real-world experience while they do it? We interviewed some of the students to find the answers to the questions you need!

James Wright – Year 1

What does a typical day look like for you in your role?

I’m currently in the Smart product team (the testing product for Workday), for my first six month rotation. A typical day would be to come in, sit down, get my laptop out and start trying to squash system test bugs (I haven’t managed to squash any yet, but it’s my first week here so my throughput isn’t going to be optimal yet!)

What’s been your highlight of your Earn as you Learn experience so far?

Getting to meet new people and talk to folk from all over the business. The four weeks of training I received was also a big highlight, we were taught about MySQL, Java and full stack web development along with some softer skills along the lines of presentation giving and interpersonal skills.

What should I expect if I get a spot on Earn as you Learn?

Lots! Kainos seems to have a great programme lined up for apprentices and I’m looking forward to what I’ll be doing in the future!

Gordon Kelly – Year 2

What does a typical day look like for you in your role?

As part of the apprenticeship we do ‘rotations’ – which means we spend a certain amount of time in each of the departments, getting a sense of what they do and getting some experience there. In my rotation in Digital Services I was working as part of a team on a support project. This involved communicating with real customers and making any fixes or improvements they wanted made to their website. I got experience working on all parts of the codebase, using languages such as Javascript, C# and SQL.

During my rotation in IT Systems I was providing equipment, accounts and licenses for Kainos employees. As first-line support, I would also help anyone phoning/walking in resolve their technical issues. This built on my customer service skills learnt in Digital Services, further introducing me to the whole ‘support’ side of the company which I hadn’t considered before.

What’s been your highlight of your Earn as you Learn experience so far?

Although I’ve really enjoyed the work I’ve been doing so far, Kainos puts a big emphasis on socialising and building relationships with your colleagues. There are many social events organized throughout the year, but for the Christmas party they really pulled out all the stops: formal dinner, quiz, drinks, live music, dancing and various other entertainment hosted at the Waterfront made for a very special night.

What should I expect if I get a spot on Earn as you Learn?

You’ll be coming into a forward-thinking and young company, meeting plenty of others your age so there’s no need to worry about not making friends. After training, you’ll have the opportunity to work in different parts of IT on real projects, and later, pursue what interests you most. Outside of your day-to-day work you’ll be able to represent Kainos at careers fairs and help with work experience (referred to as ‘tech outreach’ through the Kainos Academy), which will really improve your presentation skills and confidence in speaking to people. As I’ve mentioned previously, Kainos gives a lot of perks to its employees (my personal favourite being ‘cereal of the month’) and has a relaxed working atmosphere. Flexible working hours are so important for me as they allow me to maintain a healthy social life. Not to mention the salary and free degree!

Sarah Quinn – Year 3

What does a typical day look like for you in your role?

I originally joined Kainos as an apprentice software engineer in 2017, but have since moved into the role of Workday Integration Consultant. At a day-to-day level in this role, I engage with customers, more experienced consultants and third party vendors to integrate different systems – creating bespoke solutions for our customers. Becoming a Workday Consultant requires weeks of certification courses at first; and the work can be quite technical. But, after spending time as a software engineer, I love having a customer facing role where I’m still faced with technical challenges – the perfect combination for me!

What’s been your highlight of your Earn as you Learn experience so far?

The highlight of EAYL for me so far, has been the opportunity to help lead Kainos Code Camp in 2019. It was incredibly fun and rewarding to run that kind of summer camp for almost 200 teenagers – albeit a bit hectic! The best part was being able to use my experience and my connections from working in Kainos, to create a great schedule full of technical workshops and panels from industry professionals.

I spent two weeks away from my usual role, running the camp with other members of staff, it took a lot of hard work and preparation, but it was well worth it! The attendees and everyone involved had a great time.

What should I expect if I get a spot on Earn as you Learn?

You should expect a lot of nerves which is normal – it’s can be daunting joining the ‘corporate world’ when you’re young or when you feel less qualified than others. 

The great thing about EAYL though, is the training at the beginning – you get brought up to speed on various technical areas. You’ll come away feeling more confident in your abilities and having gotten to know your fellow apprentices very well!

Mostly you should expect ‘opportunities’ because you’ll be faced with lots of them, whether it’s assisting someone with a problem or helping out at an open night for EAYL – there will be plenty of chances for you to grow your career and your relationships with others in Kainos. Make the most of them!

Lauren Burns – year 4

What does a typical day look like for you in your role?

I start every day with a strong cup of tea whilst I check my emails and update my ‘To-Do’ list. I also have a look at my calendar to identify any meeting prep I need to do. Then I get to work! This can consist of any number of things including customer calls, meetings with the other developers/the ops team and working away on the development tickets I’m currently assigned. In addition to my day-to-day role, I’m also responsible for the EAYL Mentorship Scheme. Therefore, I’ll allocate a percentage of part of my week to the management of the scheme.

What’s been the highlight of your Earn as you Learn experience so far?

The highlight of my EAYL experience has got to be organising CodeCamp 2018. I had the opportunity to organise the two-week camp which boasts 200 participants between the ages of 14-18. The camp was a great success, and running it has been my favourite Kainos experience so far!

What should I expect if I get a spot on Earn as you Learn?

You can expect to learn everything from building a full-stack web application to how to present with impact. You will join an incredibly supportive community and make the best friends a person could ask for. It will certainly be a huge learning curve, but you will be supported at every step of the journey.

Jessica McMillen – Year 2

What does a typical day look like for you in your role?

During my first year in Kainos, as part of Earn as you Learn I got to experience working in two different business units. Currently, I am working as a Systems Engineer in Kainos’ central teams. My main role is to provide support for all of Kainos’ employees, through a help desk, providing hardware and software and fixing any problems they may have with either. A typical day for me starts off with breakfast, (supplied by the company)! Having a look through new support tickets and picking up any that are high priority, continuing with my outstanding tickets and answering help desk calls. I am doing all of this whilst making sure I am providing good customer experience to all my colleagues that I interact with. Although this routine is normally the same every day, each ticket I work on is different and some require challenging fixes – which I like because I enjoy a challenge!

What’s been your highlight of your Earn as you Learn experience so far?

I have had so many highlights in the past year – it’s amazing how much you can fit into a year! I have participated in many STEM outreach events; representing Kainos at careers fairs, presenting at the Earn as you Learn open nights, being a mentor at CodeCamp and other events. My favourite was CodeCamp during the Summer where I had the best time meeting young people who all share an interest in IT and I could really see how much they appreciated the opportunity and how interested they were in learning more about Kainos. This is really rewarding for me, to encourage other young people like I was to get involved in STEM and also to promote Kainos and all its amazing opportunities. I know it really encouraged me anytime I heard talks – especially from girls –  in STEM and IT careers so I want to do the same and really promote where I work and the Earn as you Learn scheme as it really is the best opportunity out there for anyone interested in a career in IT.

What should I expect if I get a spot on Earn as you Learn?

The short answer is to expect a lot! To list a few expectations; you will meet lots of great people. Expect lots of support from dedicated Earn as you Learn leaders and mentors for both in work and uni. You will get lots of training through Academies, the training programs provided by Kainos and on the job training from others on your team. You will get to experience different areas of Kainos in your first year to gain knowledge and tailor your future in the company depending on what you like or dislike. Finally, expect to have fun and enjoy the experience of Earn as you Learn with others your age, making lots of new friends and supporting each other on this fantastic opportunity.