https://hmrcdigital.blog.gov.uk/2019/05/09/cyber-security-apprenticeships-apply-now/

Cyber security apprenticeships: apply now

Samantha Taylor standing up at a conference asking a question
Samantha Taylor asking a question at a recent security conference

Applications for the Government Security Profession cyber security apprenticeships are open. Here, cyber security apprentice Samantha Taylor tells us about her experience so far:

Not your typical apprentice

I’m not what people might think of as a typical cyber security apprentice. For a start, I studied business, media studies and psychology at college: nothing techie at all, though I’ve always had an interest in technology.

My academic subject choices naturally took me into a career in sales. Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked in a number of sales positions, from dealing directly with consumers to corporate account management. Having worked across several industries, it was a role in IT distribution that reignited my interest in technology.

By then, I was 28 and I didn’t think I could break into the tech industry with my skill set and without having to accept a much lower wage. I felt trapped. However, I then saw an advert for the Government Security Profession apprenticeship scheme and I went for it.

Government Security Profession apprenticeship

The application process was really straightforward and quick, too: it was only a few weeks from the time I applied to the time I was in the assessment centre. For me, the most interesting part of the recruitment process was the assessment centre. I felt that this was an opportunity for candidates to really let our passion for the industry and relevant experience show through, as well a great chance to speak to current apprentices.

Since the day I started as a cyber security apprentice with HMRC digital, I have felt included within the business. I have been given opportunities to work on projects I never imagined I would get a chance to get involved with, and never felt like ‘just an apprentice’. I’ve been given the same opportunities as other team members and don’t feel that I’m really treated any differently (apart from the time off I'm given for courses and study).

The day job

With so many projects happening, as well as the numerous different aspects to cyber security within HMRC, it’s hard to describe a typical day.

I am constantly speaking to and dealing with a variety of stakeholders across HMRC and government. As civil servants, we are also encouraged to work and interact with other government departments in order to share practice and ideas.

When I originally started the programme, I wasn’t too sure of where I’d like it to take me. But as I have progressed, I have started to develop a career path based around my experiences on the course, as well as the strengths I have identified.

There is such a wide variety of roles within cyber security and the apprenticeship gives us a taster of each aspect and then the freedom to choose where we would like to develop further. The whole experience has not been what I expected in any way: it has been so much better!

The future

At this point in my life, however, I am putting my apprenticeship on hold as I am due to go on maternity leave soon. The support I have been given from both QA, the provider of the apprenticeship, and HMRC has been above and beyond anything I could have hoped for. There is a clear path set for when I return to work so that I can carry on with my apprenticeship and continue my progression within the role.

I have been truly blown away by how flexible HMRC has been around my needs during pregnancy and my return to work. Maybe when I come back, I’ll write another blog and let you know how it goes!

Applications for the Government Security Profession cyber security apprenticeships are open until 13 May 2019, there's a link on our current vacancies page.

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