The first apprentice we are showcasing for National Apprenticeship Week 2023 is Mansi Nayee, a Software Engineering Degree Apprentice, Thales.

What made you want to pursue a career in the sector and an apprenticeship?

My passion for technology began from a very young age, from helping my parents solve IT issues at home to enjoying engineering documentaries. My curiosity led me to pursue a career in technology, as I loved questioning how things work.

For my education, I pursued IT as one of my GCSE options and I really enjoyed the hands-on exercises, such as learning how to write and understand code. I then  chose to study Computer Science as one of my A-level subjects.

My heart was never set on going to university directly. I began exploring other options, and that’s when I discovered the ‘Thales Work Experience Programme’.

For the duration of my work experience placement, I was able to see engineering for what it really was, by going on tours around the building, seeing the cool projects people were working on, to asking questions to the engineers that worked there, (some of those engineers I work with today), and they are the ones that really inspired me.

Have you worked on any interesting projects / programs during your apprenticeship?

I didn’t get the exact results that I needed for my apprenticeship; however Thales still took me on as I performed well in my interview before results day, and I was able to join the Level 3 Software Engineering Apprenticeship instead.

Despite not enrolling on to the degree programme straight away, I was absolutely thrilled to be accepted. Post completing my Level 3 apprenticeship, I then earnt my job title as a Software Engineer, as well as becoming professionally registered as an IT Technician.

I am now enrolled on to the Level 6 Degree Programme and I am studying towards the Digital and Technology Solutions Integrated Degree qualification at The University of Warwick with 2 more years left until I graduate!

What has been the best thing about your apprenticeship, has anything surprised you?

When I found out that Thales operate across 68 countries globally and there is flexibility to work in different locations, that’s when I knew that Thales was the place for me.

I decided to go for the Software Engineering Degree Apprenticeship, as I liked the idea of learning on the job, as well as studying on the side where I would be able to earn and have no student debt to pay off once I graduate.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship?

I would 100% recommend doing an apprenticeship. I genuinely feel like it’s such a great opportunity. Here at Thales, you get to learn alongside professionals in your industry, earn a qualification that is paid for by the company and at the same time get paid a full-time salary!

Since the start of my degree programme, I have learnt so much and met so many amazing people, it’s been a great experience so far.

What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship?

Never underestimate yourself and don’t let fear drive you away from doing something you want to do. I remember being afraid to apply for a job as a Software Engineering Apprentice, as although I absolutely loved learning all things engineering related, I was never particularly good at Maths in school. I always questioned whether I was good enough to become an engineer or not. Over the past few years, I can tell you that if you have the passion and drive to work hard and succeed, nothing can stop you from becoming what you want to be.

What I’ve come to learn is that as an engineer, we need people with various skillsets and diverse ways of thinking, as that’s how we are more likely to build exceptional products and services for our customers. So, no matter what your good at, there’s a role for you in engineering!