NAW - Louis Pullen-Freilich, Google Software Engineering

Why did you apply to the Google Apprenticeship programme?

I was in my first year studying Aeronautical Engineering at university but quickly found that it wasn’t the right fit for me. I wasn’t learning anything I found interesting or useful and I realised that it wasn’t directly related to something I wanted to do career-wise. When I left university in May 2016, I had no idea apprenticeships even existed! I didn’t know what to do, so to get some work experience I did some freelance graphic design work for a few months. My dad came across some information on Google apprenticeship opportunities on gov.uk in December 2016. I thought it was worth applying, but didn't really think I would ever hear back.

What inspired you to take part in the programme?

When Google offered me a spot on their programme in February 2017, it seemed like an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. From a young age, I was interested in technology, although I had never formally studied computer science at school. When I was sitting my GCSEs I considered pursuing a career in technology, but I didn't think I had enough background knowledge, and especially not for a company as well known as Google.

How long is the programme?

I started on a two-year programme that began in May 2017. A few months before the end of the apprenticeship, my team was happy with my performance and pushed me to apply through the normal interview process to become a full time engineer. Thanks to the support my team had given me throughout the apprenticeship, I passed the interview process, and successfully converted to a full time software engineer, making me one of the few engineers across Google without a traditional degree.

What are your thoughts on apprenticeships having gone through the programme and what advice would you give to someone considering applying for an apprenticeship now?

Apprenticeships are interesting and an option that everyone should consider. They sometimes are given  a bad reputation; something people do if they cannot go to university. But this is not true at all. They can just be an alternate way to earn a degree, and I learnt so much more this way than I would have doing a traditional degree.

Did you think it would turn into a job?

It wasn't something I really thought about much. Part of me hoped it would, as that would be a dream come true, but I thought it was more important to focus on learning and making the most of the two years, instead of solely aiming for a full time role at the end.

What advice would you give to others?

Don't focus too much on what comes afterwards. Make the most of the apprenticeship by asking as many questions as possible, and learning as much as you can, instead of thinking about a job at the end.

Do you think there is a stigma associated with apprenticeships?

Unfortunately, I think there is. People judge you for it. It’s sad to see and I hope that over time this attitude will change. Being brave and taking an alternate path to education should be celebrated, and more people should definitely embrace the opportunities out there with apprenticeships.

 

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