Where Are They Now? – Bethany Reynolds
March 1, 2016
What is your Doris story?
After deciding I didn’t want to go to university, I felt ready for the world of work. I spent a long time on Google being very picky about the perfect apprenticeship scheme for me. I came across Doris, an innovative company who were partnering up with The Co-operative Group and a training provider to create an apprenticeship that would stand out from the rest.
Doris had set up a two year Apprenticeship and specifically picked out modules that would suit our job roles within the Bank and the Group.
After my application, the interview process was really quick! I was only 18 and I wrote a really long cover letter which I would probably cringe at if I was to read it today. I thought they’d never get back to me, they looked too professional and a little old for me but just 2 days later I stood in my room trying to find the perfect thing to wear to the assessment day.
I had nothing to wear! Making the transition from college to professional work is a huge leap – something which Doris helped me with later on with Work Image sessions – but before I knew how ‘the professional me’ dressed, my cousin took me to the Trafford Centre and in the end I found a suit and heels.
Even though I got blisters from my shoes, it was a really great assessment day. I was only 18 years old and Doris treated me like a professional and I felt really lucky to be there being considered.
I was overwhelmed and really pleased when I got the phone call saying I’d been accepted onto the programme. It proved to my friends, family and myself that I’d made the right decision for me, not to go to university, I was beginning a whole different kind of new adventure instead!
What are you doing now and why?
Two years later, I’ve completed and passed my Level 3 Advanced and Level 4 Higher IT Apprenticeship and have progressed onto the career framework Doris use for their Graduate Trainees. I feel really accomplished and have two years’ experience and inside knowledge of professional working life on any graduate! I am working on Data Manipulation within a Testing Department. I know the project inside out and feel like a valued member of the team.
What has Doris done for you?
Kath, Chris and all the Doris mentors have worked in IT – the industry that we were all hoping to conquer someday – for over 30 years, they have invaluable experience and they were just waiting to pass it on and help me along my journey.
My teachers used to use my work in ICT lessons to show the other students how it should be done, and I just thought, ‘Ah well, at least I’m good at something!’ I brushed it off and carried on making my own websites, e-zines and original graphics at age 16 thinking it was just something I enjoyed in my spare time whilst planning to go and do an English Literature degree to pursue a teaching career. It wasn’t until results day that I realised I was only going because everyone else was going, most people in my family had gone and I thought it was just ‘what you did’ so I declined all my offers from universities (without telling my mum) and went on the hunt for an apprenticeship in IT after it finally clicked that these mini projects I always had going on the side, could be a career!
I was extremely selective about my IT Apprenticeship and coming out of school - where I was a cheeky student although I never had one single detention – I wanted to get onto a good scheme quickly.
Other Apprentice schemes I’d seen advertised seemed overwhelming and looked like I would be part of a huge organisation that I would perhaps find myself lost in. I wanted to be somewhere that would know my name and appreciate why I was there not just that I was.
The Doris Team made me realise that IT is a really large sector in Business and that what I once thought of as a hobby or an extra-curricular activity in school could actually be my career.
What do you associate with Doris and your career now?
They gave me the opportunity to discover what I want to do with my life, find out where I want my career to go.
6 months into the Apprenticeship I went to work in the Business Analysis team and after only a few days there I knew this was something I could see myself doing for a long time.
They gave me the awareness of this role, which I didn’t know even existed before, and definitely wouldn’t have been given the chance to experience at age 18 without them!
There are 16 other Doris employees based in my office and some work with the TPO (Test Practise Office) Team who sat near us in the office at the beginning of our apprenticeship and which provided a platform for constant support from our peers as well as the support I get from my mentor Sarah who I look up to.
Is there a memory that stands out about your time at Doris?
The photoshoot. It wasn’t really work related but we are now on the Doris website. I went along to a photoshoot near the start of my journey and it sticks out in my memory as a great experience. We were all there and we could tell that it was the start of something exciting. We felt really special, all the attention on us (which we usually hate!) we had our hair done and I had so much fun posing with Emily, one of the other new apprentices and future best friend!
Two years later, Amy and the Doris team created some posters which ended up all around our office with these old photos of us all on saying ‘Congratulations on completing your Apprenticeship!’ Although embarrassing it was a lovely gesture and made us all realise how far we had come! 2 of our colleagues even recreated the photo of Emily and me laughing back to back which made everyone laugh even more!
I’m going to another one in a few weeks and can’t wait for the records to be updated! A lot has changed in two years! Thank you Doris!
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