This week Christine Hodgson (Chairman, Capgemini and Chair, The Careers & Enterprise Company) and Jess Bachelor (Demand and Service Introduction Manager (Apprentice), Capgemini) participated in a roundtable discussion and were interviewed by students at St Marylebone C of E School.
As part of Speakers for Schools’ Bridging the Gap talk series and National Apprenticeship Week Christine Hodgson visited St Marylebone C of E School with Jess Bachelor (apprentice at Capgemini) to participate in a roundtable discussion where 15 girls from Year 8-12 asked questions about:
- Christine and Jess’ roles and their careers
- Working in the technology sector
- Gender imbalance in the technology sector
- Transferable skills that could help students in their ambitions
During the roundtable Christine discussed her journey, mentioning she started out as an accountant and the skills she gained helped her immensely in her career.
“Hard work doesn’t stop so doing something you enjoy is the most important”
Christine Hodgson, Chairman, Capgemini and Chair, Careers and Enterprise Company
Following the roundtable discussion three students, Mariam (14), Megan (13) and Jessica (14) were lucky enough to interview Christine and Jess – their questions and answers are below.
What made you want to work in a technology based job?
CH: “Well I actually got into a technology based company by accident, I answered an advertisement in The Times to be the company secretary of Capgemini so that’s what I first came to do and I didn’t really know too much (in all honesty!) about what Capgemini was all about. It was the role that interested me rather than the company but the more research I did the more interested I got in the company and twenty years after joining the rest is history. “
JB: My interest in a technology based job came from using IT since a really young age and seeing how its evolved from when I was 10 up until 16, until I decided to study IT and Business with IT at A-Level. Then I went to Capgemini for a work experience placement and enjoyed that even more! Since then I’ve worked as an apprentice at Capgemini and my IT skills have evolved immensely.
What are the most popular talents and skills that Capgemini looks for?
CH: What we’re looking for are bright people, who have an interest in technology (you don’t need to be an expert) that are positive, have lots of energy, are resilient, like to work hard and are tenacious. We can train young people to deliver the things we need to our clients but we need that passion and enthusiasm to begin with.
What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?
CH: The thing I enjoy most is working with my colleagues, I work with a huge variety of people with different ages, backgrounds and nationalities (we’re a global company after all) and what I love is that I get meet these great people every day. I also love the variety of my job, as no two days are same! I’m delighted to be here with you on a Monday morning but tomorrow I’ll be involved in a completely different set of things. So it’s that variety and the different teams I get to work with that make this job the most interesting.
There’s also lots of pressure, I always think pressure is a good thing (stress isn’t good) so trying to do things that are difficult and delivering for our client’s things that are leading edge and innovative is very exciting.
JB: Definitely agree with Christine on people and variety but I also love problem solving and a challenge. The happiness you feel after solving a problem really boosts your mood and that is what I like the most – the self-reward for doing a good job. You’re always going to face challenges and how you deal with those challenges will make a huge impact on who you are and help build your skills.
What transferable skills and qualities do you think working at Capgemini has given you?
JB: The obvious one is improved IT skills and team working skills, you get the opportunity for team work in school but its completely different working in a large company. In addition to that, conflict management and issues that need to be addressed – this has helped me build my confidence and my rapport with other people. Everyday life skills as well - managing time, organisation, and even though I studied English a A-Level going into a business has hugely improved my English skills.
Would you prefer an apprenticeship or a degree from a university?
CH: Both are equally as good. We welcome graduates and apprentices and both are equally valuable to us as a company. I think from a young persons point of view there are positives and negatives of each – obviously some want to go to University and live away from home and people want to stay at home but start earning start away (you can still get a degree and work experience with an apprenticeship) and have no debt.
JB: Many of our apprentices choose to move as part of joining Capgemini or work on a project away from home. So the travel away from home option is still there, but differently.
What about the apprenticeship programme at Capgemini made you want to work there?
JB: First of all the degree that goes with my apprenticeship, at the end of my degree I will be part of the Chartered Management Institute and I will also have my degree and a different apprenticeship qualification – that to me was a major plus. The company as a whole was enticing; I’d done work experience there and really enjoyed it and the people I worked with (I actually wanted to go to work after my work experience!)
Christine and Jess: You tell us, how do you feel about University and apprenticeships?
Students: We like the idea of both!
"I really enjoyed today! It was a really great insight into what working in a predominantly technology based job is like!"
"It was such an exciting and great experience. I learned about how Capgemini works and the beneficial services that it offers for students and people our age from very knowledgeable and friendly people. I had a great time! "