Bianca joined our Risk Advisory team straight from sixth form, knowing almost nothing about data science and thinking “everyone else would be so much better”. Now in the third year of her BrightStart Apprenticeship, she tells us how she’s getting on.

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When you heard you’d got onto the BrighStart programme, how did you feel?

I was so happy; really excited. And surprised, because I was disappointed with my A Level grades. But Deloitte talked to me and tried to understand the reasons why I got those grades and offered me the role anyway. I was really happy to find out I could still work at such a big firm and have the opportunity to learn all these skills from experts.

And did you have any concerns when you joined?

Yes, that I might be kicked out when they realised I didn’t have any of the right technical skills for the role! I thought everyone needed to have them when they joined. But my A Level subjects had nothing to do with technology. Here I was, straight form sixth form, with all these graduates who’d studied data science at university and knew Python and other coding languages. I didn’t even know what Python was! I needn’t have worried though, as they teach you all of it. And they’re very supportive of the fact that you don’t know stuff. In fact, they always say: no question is a dumb question.

How have you grown since then?

I’ve definitely grown in confidence. We get trained alongside graduates, who are much older, so you tend to think that they’re going to be much better, and you’re not going to be good enough. But you get so many opportunities to show who you are and what you can do. And you’re supported and praised for your work. That gives me so much confidence and makes me better at my job.

Have you developed any new skills?

Lots of the skills I have now definitely come from this apprenticeship. Coding, of course. But also, time management and self-motivation. At school, you tend to have work given to you and you just make your way through it. Whereas in this environment, it’s up to you to find and join projects that you’re really interested in. And you need to be very good with your time, because you have real work to deliver to clients.

What’s the best thing about working at Deloitte?

The fact that I can learn on the job and get a degree, which is something I’ve always wanted. I find I can only learn if I’m doing what the person is trying to teach me. So having those two worlds combine is really motivating for me. I’m working towards a degree in Risk Analytics, a three-year course that’s awarded by the Open University.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished a project, so I’m currently “on the bench”. This allows me to focus on my coursework for my apprenticeship. Currently, I’m working on big data analytics, using a data set to build a statistical model that will predict whether or not a bank customer is going to be a good credit risk. As a team, we tend to work with a lot of data science, so we need to be very tech savvy. There’s a lot of innovation in our area, such as using voice recognition tools to help our clients better detect risks. It’s really interesting.

Do you work collaboratively at Deloitte?

Yes, all the time. While a project might be given to a particular team, they’ll pull in expertise from other teams. For example, I’ve worked directly with Consulting on many previous projects. I think this kind of collaboration is really important, as you can learn a lot from people who have a very different set of skills from you.

Is Deloitte a supportive employer?

I certainly feel well supported. I’ve used the wellbeing team here and the therapist service that Deloitte offers. A good example is when I was experiencing anxiety – I do tend to feel quite anxious when I start working on a new project – and my manager noticed and checked in on me to make sure I was ok and not overworked. We’ve got a really good service around us to support us whenever we need it. We have mentors, and peer group meetings where we can talk about anything from promotions to how to feel more confident. I’m also part of the Deloitte Black Network, as well as a co-founder of the Risk Advisory Black Network.

Finally, what’s the highlight of your experience so far?

Getting a shout out from several partners in a meeting. It was during Black History Month, and they said how appreciative they were of the work the Risk Advisory Black Network and I did to raise awareness around the topic, as well as the report we produced for Directors outlining what we could do better in this arena.

Interested in a career at Deloitte? Find out more about our Early Careers programmes here.

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