My name is Priyal Bhanderi and I am a degree apprentice at Capgemini. While studying for an honours degree in Digital and Technological Solutions, my role within Capgemini is as a Business Analyst. As part of this role, I capture requirements from the client, relay them back to the development team so their business needs are met and manage important stakeholders. Coming from the Asian community where university is the most ‘accepted’ path to further education, it was a tough decision to break the norms. Furthermore, my preconceptions of the field were that it was male-dominated, making me a little nervous at the beginning. I felt like I would be in teams where I would be the only female. However, the initial judgements I had were false. Although some of my teams have had more men, I have worked with very empowering and knowledgeable women. Therefore, #ChooseToChallenge to me means challenging stereotypes, especially when they are outdated and not a true reflection of reality.
Capgemini encourages everyone to give back, in different ways. Degree Apprenticeships only came to my attention during sixth form when members of Capgemini visited to explain what they are and why it is a viable alternative to university. I want to pay this forward to the current generation of school students:
therefore, I partake in many outreaches to schools like Ark Academy to explain what apprenticeships are and the experiences I have had in my journey so far. I have also been part of a panel when Capgemini was Highly Commended in the Recruitment category of Business in the Community’s Race Equality Awards, and spoken at conferences to bring awareness of apprenticeships to entrepreneurs and employers. Finally, I have featured in The Guardian (“Financial freedom and a university education”) to explain the value of apprenticeships to individuals and businesses.
My advice to young people looking to join Capgemini is that it is a great business to kick-start your career. It’s an opportunity to get exposure to the best people in the field, learning first-hand from them, and seeking their guidance to further develop yourself and your skillset. Team members are really supportive and keen to hear innovative ideas that we as apprentices suggest to them and the clients. My advice to women is that although the industry is still male-dominated, there is still a need for us as we provide new perspectives in the field. Furthermore, there are more women now than ever studying STEM subjects – change is coming – and our female role models here within Capgemini help to provide the inspiration, drive and confidence to pursue future aspirations.