Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Cisco Apprentice Hotseat: Karan

March 5, 2018

Karan Bhonsle NAW 2018

This week we’re celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2018! Over the coming days we’re catching up with Cisco Apprentices (of past and present) to find out about their experiences in the programme. In the first edition of our hotseat, we catch-up with first year Cisco apprentice Karan Bhonsle…

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

I thought an apprenticeship would be a great opportunity to learn and apply knowledge gained in a practical environment. I felt the combination of both these factors would truly help me develop and expand my skillset. The apprenticeship at Cisco stood out as it provided me with an opportunity to experience different job roles while contributing towards the business. By the end of this first year I’ll have gained experience in sales, engineering and services.

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

It would be hard to name one person in particular, however; a key driving factor for me has been behavioural values. I have always aimed to demonstrate values such perseverance, determination, focus and the attitude of never giving up.

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

I would say individuals across the business; management as well as my fellow apprentices are who I look to for inspiration. Everyone is constantly aiming for success in their very own way. There is a diverse range of talent, giving me the opportunity to constantly learn from the individuals around me.

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

The apprenticeship has helped me in my analytical, business, presentation and communication skills just to name a few, and it’s helped improve my confidence. Time management is another skill that stands out. As an apprentice I’ve learnt how to handle numerous tasks at the same time, including our day-to-day roles, work related to our degree, studying for Cisco certifications as well as participating in the wonderful opportunities Cisco provides. Although it is challenging, the end results are definitely cherished.

5) What extra curricular activities have you been involved or organised?

I have recently become an ambassador for the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) project, which is aiming to build a car that will set a new land speed record.

My main objective as an ambassador would be going into schools and conducting workshops, assemblies and science clubs for students across all age groups. By doing so I hope to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Last Christmas, I also volunteered for Cisco’s ‘Connected Santa’- part of the corporate social responsibility programme. It involved visiting hospitals across the UK and Ireland and speaking to children personally about what was on their Christmas list. By leveraging Cisco’s Telepresence and video collaboration technology, each child gets one-to-one time with Santa who is based remotely. It was a wonderful initiative to put a smile on the faces of these kids, parents, and staff at the hospital.

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

I’m in the first year of my apprenticeship and will be conducting rotations across sales, services and engineering, each having a duration of 3 months. With my managers we’re evaluating my strengths and weaknesses across each of these areas, which will help me gain a definitive understanding of where my competence lies. When I reach my third year I will be conducting a single rotation for 12 months. During that time I intend to be a key contributor to projects and activities, essentially adding value to my team and Cisco. After this rotation I would like to see myself move into a permanent role in the respective area of the business. In five years I’m aiming to achieve additional Cisco or vendor-neutral certifications which are a great way to expand upon my knowledge and skill set, helping me develop an established career path in the IT and networking industry.

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

The sheer number of opportunities that are on offer at Cisco – it’s been a brilliant way to build upon my knowledge, self-esteem and personal brand, while gaining a deeper insight into Cisco’s initiatives. They’ve helped me interact with individuals across the business and develop key skills and I’m extremely grateful for the support.

8) What’s the greatest responsibility or opportunity that you have been given so far?

Out of all the great experiences the one that really stands out is attending an NBA VIP event at the O2 arena (pictured above), the day before 2018 NBA London Game. I had the privilege of meeting NBA legend Andre Miller, while participating in a few basketball drills and challenges. The event was also learning curve, as I was able to gain a deeper insight into Cisco’s technology partnership with the NBA.

Find out more about Cisco’s Apprenticeship programme.

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