Jessica Auld began her Graduate Apprenticeship journey with Aegon UK in autumn of 2018 and has just completed the first year of her BEng Honours Degree in Cyber Security at Edinburgh Napier University.
Having a natural interest in the subject matter, Jessica notes, is what drove her to apply for an apprenticeship.
She said: “I’ve always found cybersecurity an interesting subject – technology is constantly changing and evolving at rates faster than ever before and, with all this new technology, comes a growing number of opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit.
“With that in mind, I knew that a career in this field would be a new and interesting challenge.”
Jessica first noticed the Graduate Apprenticeship opportunity on social media site, LinkedIn, and decided to apply. Jessica added: “Having never studied computing or had a previous IT-related role, my initial thoughts were that I didn’t have a chance at getting the job, but I had a go and applied. To my surprise, I was invited to the assessment day and, shortly after, I was offered the apprenticeship.”
Cybersecurity offers a fast-changing environment in which response time is essential, and Jessica relishes the variety offered through here role at Aegon.
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“The thing I love most about my role is that every day is different,” she said. “One day you are carrying out your daily tasks; threat intelligence, data loss prevention activities, phishing queries, due diligence, and the next day you could be responding to a cyber incident that needs to be resolved immediately. You never know what’s waiting for you!”
Achieving a degree alongside developing key practical skills in the workplace offers the perfect combination, according to Jessica, who explained: “Studying at university and learning on the job means that I’m constantly learning and developing my skill set and knowledge.
“It’s exciting to know that at the end of four years, I’ll have an honours degree plus four years’ work experience.”
Alan Woodrow, who leads the apprenticeship programme at Aegon in Edinburgh, commented: “The Graduate Apprenticeship programme has given Aegon a fantastic opportunity to develop enthusiastic people and provide them with the platform to apply what they are learning at university immediately in the workplace.
“What makes it unique is that the business has four years working and developing the individual in their area of expertise which has huge benefits for us as an employer. Meanwhile, the individual is working towards a degree, earning while they learn, and also gaining valuable employment experience as they work towards their Apprenticeship. Everyone benefits from this fully-funded programme”
Aegon gives all staff the opportunity to use apprenticeships as a pathway of development, and since 2014, more than 240 people have successfully completed an Apprenticeship.
For further information about how work-based learning could help you, your staff, or your business, visit: Apprenticeships.Scot
For additional information about digital skills and careers, visit Digital World.