Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Managing Young Talent

March 10, 2017

A few months after graduating University, I joined Cisco as an Associate Network Consulting Engineer (aNCE). Approaching a company the size and eminence of Cisco was daunting however it became apparent that Cisco’s culture was very unique in how it supported new talent. I remember being one of the very junior engineers on the team, feeling nervous and wishing there was a magic ‘knowledge pill’ I could take to make me as smart and experienced as my team. Clearly, that was not going to happen. The only way was hard work and lots of learning from making mistakes. The exceptional support from my manager and team soon gave me the confidence to realise my potential, nine years on – and I am still here!

After four exciting years of working as an Engineer, I decided to explore new opportunities in the Project Management Office (PMO). It was in the PMO team that I met one of Cisco’s first apprentices called Joshua Robinson in 2011. He demonstrated himself to be a highly motivated individual with an eagerness to learn and attention to detail and organisation that really impressed me. I was therefore keen to get him involved with one of the projects I managed. He soon began to take more of a lead on the project and very quickly developed a trusted relationship with the customer. Six years on, and to no surprise, Joshua is now successfully managing multiple high value projects within Cisco.

Working with apprentices over the past six years has inspired me to support the transition of young talent into the Cisco business environment. Hence, when a role came up for an Apprentice Manager, I felt it was the right and natural transition for me.  I now have the pleasure of working with a team of 36 apprentices. Each having unique strengths, they embark on a journey to develop and implement their talent; various role exposures in different parts of the company offer them a holistic understanding of Cisco’s functioning and success and enable them to showcase their potential to the business whilst they are on rotation in that part of the organisation.

FY17 Apprentice cohort at their New Employee Orientation

FY17 Apprentice cohort at their New Employee Orientation

All Cisco apprentices have one thing in common: their passion for technology and their motivation to develop themselves. From recruitment to the first twelve months, there is a visible change in apprentices’ confidence, business mannerism and professional development. The programme is highly competitive and demanding of apprentices, pushing them beyond their comfort zones and urging them to constantly set the bar higher than the previous year. However, they can always rely on the support of their ‘Cisco family’ who will always find time to mentor and coach apprentices, no matter how tough of busy things gets.

My team of apprentices never fails to amaze me with their positivity, creativity and pursuit of their development. Their determination to be the best that they can coupled with a mentality that won’t allow temporary failure to bring them down are the driving forces of their success. I have the utmost respect for my talented team of apprentices who continue to make me and the extended Cisco family very proud of their fantastic achievements.

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  1. So pleased to have you in the Apprenticeship Team, Nadia! Great blog 🙂