Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Cisco Apprentice Hotseat: James

March 9, 2018

This week we’re celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2018! We’ve been catching up with Cisco Apprentices (of past and present) to find out about their experiences in the programme. In the final edition of our hotseat, we catch-up with Cisco apprentice James Thomas…

1) What were your initial thoughts about doing an apprenticeship and what swayed you to apply?

I believed an apprenticeship would provide me with a foot in the door at an incredible company and the tangible experience necessary to exceed in a technology orientated career.

2) Who has inspired you in your education or school life?

I’ve had a number of inspirational mentors and friends, of which two in particular stand out. The traits these two individuals have, instilled a number of positive attributes in me; like being approachable, calm under pressure, and being constructive with criticism. Without their guidance I do not believe I would be the apprentice I am today and for them to have taken to the time out of their personal and professional lives to support me speaks volumes about their character.

3) How has that changed now that you are working and have started your career progression?

Due to their mentoring I believe I’ve become more strategic in my thinking and that I am not only more self-aware but aware of others.

4) What skills have you learnt or improved during your apprenticeship so far?

Both my technological and business knowledge has drastically improved during the apprenticeship due to the variety of people, industries and partners that you meet and work with.

5) What is the greatest responsibility or opportunity that you have been given so far?

There are a number of opportunities that I have had the privilege to have worked on, including; managing the relationship with 22 global showcases between Cisco and BT; running workshops for a variety of partners covering “selling with Cisco” recurring revenue and dCloud.

6) What ‘extra-curricular’ activities have you been involved or organised?

I lead an employee run organisation called Early Career Network in EMEAR that covers multiple chapters across the region that support and enable early in career employees. I also have attended a number of giving back days to support UK-based charities.

7) What is your proudest moment of the apprenticeship?

That is an incredibly difficult question, but I think receiving positive feedback from colleagues, whether in the form of an email, 1-2-1 discussion, connected recognition or bonus are the proudest moments because it is recognition of my hard work.

8) How has the apprenticeship programme benefited other aspects of your life?

I have had the opportunity to travel to places I typically wouldn’t have travelled to. I am financially stable as a result of having an apprenticeship and I am still able to achieve a degree without the need for thousands of pounds of debt.

9) Where do you see yourself in five years time from a careers prospective?

Working at Cisco in a role selling to end customers or enabling the channel. I hope to be inspired by my role and achieving a number of career aspirations.

10) What has been the biggest thing that has surprised you/biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself since starting the programme?

That perfect is not always achievable but as long as you can say you have given 100% then you can be proud of your efforts. To learn from my mistakes and recognising them. I would also say learning that everyone is different, what makes one person tick might not make another and to be considerate of that.

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