“I have the opportunity to have the freedom to be in charge of my own career” — What’s it like to be an apprentice at the Financial Times?

In Autumn of 2018 the Financial Times opened its doors to technology apprentices for the first time. Our first cohort of apprentices attended Ada, a UK based College teaching Digital Skills. The college opened in 2016 and is named after Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She was the first person to publish an algorithm intended to be carried out by the machine and is regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. Ada College’s curriculum was designed with help from industry powerhouses such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Gamesys, IBM, Deloitte and more.

More and more young people between the ages of 16 and 18 are looking at career paths away from the traditional school to sixth form to university route and opting for more hands on experience in a real workplace. In 2015–16, 1.6m people applied for apprenticeships online. 491,300 apprenticeships were started in 2016 and 89% of apprentices are satisfied with their apprenticeship; 97% of apprentices said their skills and abilities had improved, and 92% of apprentices said their career prospects had increased overall.

The FT is proud to be an equal opportunities employer, we have talented employees from all walks of life and don’t believe you need a degree in order to do a job well. Late last year we welcomed two apprentices, Reece and Yannis. So, what do our apprentices think so far?

Reece

“The first three weeks at the Financial Times have been great. I was welcomed to the FT family with open arms and kindness. Colleagues are always willing to help and support me when I need it.

So far, it has been unbelievable how quickly and how much you learn in such a short period. For example, I had the chance to learn cloud skills on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

I have successfully made changes to the production line affecting the whole business. I have the opportunity to have the freedom to be in charge of my own career. I am happy to be here and excited to help the Financial Times deliver high-quality news, products, services and events.”

- Reece Black

Yannis

“My name is Yannis and I am a software engineer apprentice at the FT.

The application process started when I first saw the advert for the apprenticeship on a google page and I applied for the role on the website. The application process included a Google form asking about my technology interests and personal motivations to learn how to create software then the next stage was a phone interview which was more about personal interests and motivations. Then the final stage of the application process was a face to face interview and tech test. I found this very interesting as we had to create a web application that could tell the weather for a set city, using Node.js and HTML, and it had to be hosted on Heroku. All of which I had never done before, so it was a very good learning experience for me.

After two weeks, I found out that I had got the role and I would need to go to a software development launchpad course run by Ada college, where I would be learning all the basic skills a software engineer would need for 8 weeks. This would include learning about the software development life cycle, basic principles of coding and testing and some brief work on APIs and database algorithms.

Once the 8 weeks were over, I went to the FT building for my first day of work and everyone was very welcoming. When I got to my desk, I met my manager and quite a few of the Internal Products team. Once I had settled in, I started learning about Origami and Node.JS, whilst also learning about the projects that were taking place in other teams. I have now been working in the FT building for almost three weeks and I am learning something new every day. I am enjoying every day and I am looking forward to learning more at the FT.“

- Yannis Jinadu

For updates on our apprenticeship scheme, you can follow us here on Medium or over on Twitter @lifeatFT. You can also check out our live vacancies on roles.ft.com.

To find out more about Ada college, check out https://ada.ac.uk/ or email apprenticeships@ada.ac.uk to learn about the apprenticeships they offer.

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