Project Management Degree Apprentice, Holly, shares her reasonings for choosing her apprenticeship with Vodafone, insight into the Project Management industry, advice you can take when applying for apprenticeships yourself, and more.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

As I was growing up, apprenticeships were always viewed as an alternative path to education for those who didn’t meet the requirements for university of preferred hands-on occupations that were traditionally male-dominated, such as plumbing. The only option otherwise was attending university, which was highly encouraged throughout education.

However, I took inspiration from my dad and sister who had successful experiences with apprenticeships in the professional business industry. Therefore, I decided to explore this alternative. To me, the option of an apprenticeship seemed far more appealing.

 Not only could I work towards a degree that would be paid for, but I would also be able to apply the knowledge I gained in a practical setting simultaneously. This means that by the time I complete my degree, I will already be well-versed in the practical aspects of the job and possess a comprehensive understanding of real-life project management.

In comparison, spending the same duration of time at university would only provide me with theoretical knowledge.  Personally, I believe that gaining an in-depth understanding of project management requires more than just studying theory. It is the hands-on experience that allows you to comprehend the intricate details of the field.

Therefore, my main motivation for pursuing an apprenticeship was to immerse myself in a professional environment, gain exposure, and acquire practical experience. This opportunity would allow me to immediately apply and enhance my existing skills, which also acquiring new ones.

What made you choose the project management career path?

During my time in school, I was torn between pursuing a career in business or law. At the time, law apprenticeships were very new, while there were more opportunities for a business apprenticeship. Among the various business apprenticeships available, project management stood out for me as it offered versatility and a chance to explore different areas.

What appealed to me about project management was the opportunity to avoid getting stuck in a single role. I was unsure about my future career path and project management seemed like a perfect fit as it allowed me to delve into various areas and roles.

The field of project management opens doors to being part of forward-thinking and innovative organisations. There is a constant stream of fascinating projects, especially in the ever-evolving tech industry. This ensures that there will always be new and exciting projects to work on, keeping me engaged and challenged.

What drew you to apply to Vodafone?

 I applied for apprenticeships at large corporate companies with the goal of gaining the most valuable experience possible.

Vodafone caught my attention as it has global recognition, which I believe would provide me with the best experience and expose me to a pool of highly skilled and talented employees from whom I can learn.

The opportunity to gain insights and knowledge from experts is advantageous for both professional and personal development. Furthermore, Vodafone presents numerous avenues for professional growth, ensuring a wealth of opportunities within the company.

Vodafone also has great benefits such as pension, insurance, resources, and salary. There are lots of talented employees who you can learn from, giving you the opportunity to learn from people who are experts in their fields, which is great for professional and personal development. As well as there being many professional opportunities within Vodafone.

What does a normal day look like for you at your apprenticeship?

For me, a normal day as a project management apprentice looks like this:

  • Logging on at 08:30, looking at my calendar for the day, creating a to-do list, and adding to it throughout the day.
  • Attending a daily stand-up meeting, where I will ask team members about their progress and discuss any issues and how these can be resolved/mitigated. This will be reflected in JIRA which is a software tool used to track the progress of a project. Throughout the day, I will ensure that JIRA is up to date by adding any necessary comments and moving the feature (tasks) statuses from ‘in progress’ to ‘done,’ so all stakeholders have full awareness and up-to-date knowledge of projects.
  • Attending other necessary calls where I may need to update programme leads or other stakeholders on the status of features and highlight any issues. With the support and guidance of team members, I can find a solution for these issues and figure out how this can be mitigated if this were to occur in the future.
  • Finishing the day at 17:15 and reflecting on my to-do list and adding any necessary tasks for the next day/week.


This is what a typical day would look like, but not every day. There are many events that I attend such as PI Planning, but this is only held every quarter and it is an event where the team plan for the upcoming 3 months. All teams will plan which features they would like to commit to complete in the next 3 months and allocate this into sprints, which have a duration of 2 weeks. As always, any risks must be discussed and reflected in JIRA.

Additionally, I spend 20% of my time dedicated to studying. To make this easier, I take one day off a week to focus on my university work. This may involve attending lectures or progressing on my assignments, updating my continuing professional development log or my portfolio which all contribute to my qualification when I graduate.


What has been the biggest highlight of your apprenticeship so far?

There have been many highlights throughout my journey at Vodafone, however one experience that stood out to me was in my second year where I took part in an internal project called TechBoost. This is where young professionals were responsible for developing a solution to a specific challenge.

My team aimed to enhance communication and visibility among Vodafone stakeholders, and we accomplished this by creating a comprehensive incident reporting solution that ensured efficient cross-communication globally. After six months, there was a presentation where all teams had the opportunity to showcase their progress throughout this time frame. This was a great experience as everyone got to have an insight into the other teams’ projects and their experiences alongside this.

Additionally, I have been able to enhance my skills through various training courses and qualifications, opening doors to new learning opportunities.

It's good to have some friendly competition with your team! And of course, to build on that, have there been any challenges at all?

When transitioning from A Levels to studying and working simultaneously, it can become challenging at times. However, I find that with Northumbria University the workload is manageable.

One of the great benefits is that Northumbria University provides opportunities to complete exams such as APM PMQ, Agile Exam, or Prince2. In my case, I have selected APM PMQ which I plan to take this year. This is the first closed-book exam that I have taken since A Levels.

To ensure I allocate sufficient time for university studies, I ensure that I take one day off a week. Even when there are no lectures scheduled, I still take this day to focus on reviewing course materials, incorporating feedback from previous assignments, or looking into other relevant documents such as my continuing personal development log.

I also face challenges at times due to the lack of experience within the working world, however with the support of colleagues this becomes easier!

Because of those challenges do you have a good support network around you?

I am fortunate to have a strong and reliable support network at Vodafone. Both my manager and team members set a great example by holding regular checkpoint calls. These calls are not only focused on work-related matters, but they also provide the opportunity to discuss and receive guidance on university-related concerns. This ensures that I can address any highlights, concerns, or questions that I may have, and receive the support I need in those areas.

Similarly, at university, you are assigned a skills coach who is a designated point of contact to consult and ask questions about assignments is incredibly helpful. My skills coach helps break down my assignment, outlining what needs to be included, and helps clarify any doubts I may have.

What advice do you have for anyone considering doing an apprenticeship?


1.       Take the time to thoroughly research the specific role you are interested in, as well as apprenticeships in general. Understand the qualifications and skills required, as each company may have its own criteria. This will help you be better prepared and more confident.

2.       Reach out to companies early on, before they officially announce their apprenticeship schemes. Many companies do not publicly disclose their openings, so by proactively reaching out, you can get a head start and increase your chances of securing an apprenticeship.

3.       Understand the values and culture of the company that you are applying to. This knowledge will not only help during the application process but also ensure that the company aligns with your own goals.

4.       Update your CV and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills and experiences. Tailor these documents to each specific company that you are applying to.

5.       Practice commonly asked interview questions and prepare specific examples that demonstrate your skills and experiences. By doing so, you will be able to answer questions confidently and effectively.

6.       To not be discouraged if you are not selected for an apprenticeship. Keep applying to different opportunities and persevere as apprenticeships are extremely competitive and not easy to get.

To learn more about Holly, as well as the rest of our GetMyFirstJob Apprentice Ambassadors, click here. And to start your own journey into project management, see what a career in projectmanagement could look like for you.

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