Maria Whittingham, student recruitment manager at CGI, embraced a golden opportunity five years ago when she embarked on a sponsored degree apprenticeship.
Gaining a debt-free, BA (Hons) degree while simultaneously gaining valuable work experience with us was, in her own words, “invaluable”. Now, five years on, we speak with Maria to find out what life is like at CGI.
You work in a male-dominated industry sector – how has CGI ensured you feel welcome in the working environment?
I have always felt supported at CGI.
I joined in 2014 on the sponsored degree apprenticeship. Initially, I was worried that I’d miss out on the social side of university or that the network of people with similar interests to me would be limited.
I needn’t have worried! There’s plenty going on at CGI. For example, the sports and social club, which organises fun activities where you can meet like-minded people, and the ‘working together’ initiatives in the offices.
Recently, CGI has also offered self-defence classes for women, which I think is great, as it provides the opportunity to learn a new skill.
The culture at CGI is very friendly and welcoming and it definitely feels like a balanced work environment!
How have you been inspired to progress you career at CGI, or have you inspired others?
I definitely feel I’ve been able to shape my career at CGI.
When I first joined in 2014, I didn’t have any specific industry experience, but I had a passion to learn.
I have been able to work on projects at CGI which suited my skill set, and had lots of support around me to help develop and progress my career.
Five years after joining as an apprentice, I now manage our UK school leaver recruitment, which I love!
There are lots of other initiatives at CGI, which aim to inspire the next generation. We run STEM camps with schools across the country, to help demonstrate where a career in technology can lead, and share stories of members who have taken different career paths within the company.
What tools or techniques has CGI helped you acquire to develop your skills and career?
CGI sponsored my degree, enabling me to get a debt-free, BA (Hons) degree while gaining valuable work experience at the company. For me, this was invaluable to kick-start my career.
Since completing my studies, I have taken part in other training courses and development opportunities, which have also been really beneficial to my career, including:
- 24/7 access to e-learning courses
- Informal shadowing opportunities, which provides insight into various roles within the organisation.
CGI definitely values learning and development, making sure that opportunities are available for all.
What's the one thing you would like women considering applying to CGI to know?
CGI is passionate about equal opportunities.
The Share Purchase Plan, which is offered as a benefit, is a great way to feel like you own a part of the company and feel a sense of ownership over what you’re doing.
Along with this, we are all called members at CGI rather than employees, which fosters a culture of belonging within the company. You feel welcomed and equal at CGI, which is all you can ask for!
Thanks, Maria, for sharing your experience of working with us at CGI.
We want to ensure that all women have the opportunity to pursue a successful career at CGI. Read more about how we’re doing this.