From education to employment

Not the Typical Candidate: Busy Working Mum of Four

Person at desk writing

Michelle has always been passionate about technology; particularly how it can improve our lives for the better and save time. “As a busy working mum of four, naturally anything that can streamline my day and make tasks more manageable is a winner. And that’s how I view technology in general; it’s there to make our lives better.”

She always wanted a career in technology, but her lack of any formal qualifications made it a challenge to get her foot in the door. “I found several apprenticeships that I was interested in, but without GCSEs or A-levels, I wasn’t being considered. That’s how I ended up at Accenture; the Movement to Work scheme allowed me to gain the work experience I needed to progress with the degree apprenticeship. They saw my potential.” Michelle found solace in computer programming, testing with technology and playing around with coding – at a time when her homelife was very challenging. It was Michelle’s natural interest in coding and problem solving that caught the eye of a charity.

About the Movement to Work Initiative

Movement to Work is an employer-led charity which was co-founded by Accenture in 2013. It is a is a vibrant not-for-profit coalition of UK employers, youth-outreach organisations, training providers and government allies that offers young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access to transformational work experience placements, linked to real jobs.

Its aim is to help young people overcome the barrier created by a lack of work experience or previous employment. Thus far over 135,000 young people have participated in these work placements with life-changing outcomes; over 50% of those completing a placement have gained employment or a route back into training and education. 

Recognised as a rising star

Michelle has gone from strength to strength since starting her apprenticeship with Accenture, recently graduating from the four-year programme with a BSc Degree in Digital & Technology Solutions, while gaining invaluable work experience. She’s even won a Rising Star Award for the projects she’s worked on during this time.

Advice for aspiring apprentices

Reflecting on her own experiences, Michelle has the following advice for anyone seeking an apprenticeship – particularly if they don’t possess the ‘typical’ qualifications. 

“Remember that no doesn’t always mean no. I never accepted no as an answer, and if I ever got that response, my first instinct is to ask what I need to do to achieve a yes. Take your journey step by step and focus on that next tangible thing you need to do to get there.”

Message to businesses when hiring apprentices:

As a candidate who started off not possessing the traditional qualifications that employers ask for, Michelle urges businesses to look beyond the qualifications on a person’s C.V and assess the potential and willingness to learn.

“Degrees and qualifications are of course important – especially in a tech focused role. However, when bringing people in at entry level organizations shouldn’t just look at the skills they already have – but the eagerness they have to learn. Apprenticeships aside, employers should always be investing in their employees; it’s a great way to invest in your future workforce – especially with so many facing a skills gap.”

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