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Exploring different roles and new challenges, our Foundation Apprenticeship led Emily to a tech career she loves

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After deciding university wasn’t for her, Emily started her career journey on our Foundation Apprenticeship. There, she explored different areas, learnt new skills and met a lot of supportive people. Today she’s a Senior UX Designer in the Customer Insight, Research & Design team. Read on to learn more about her journey and how she found her passion…

After my A levels, I knew I didn’t want to take the traditional university route, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. A friend who was already on the Barclays Foundation Apprenticeship had recommended the programme to me. Knowing that being part of a global bank would come with an abundance of opportunities, I went for it.

On the apprenticeship, you are matched with roles to challenge you and grow your skillset. I was interested in taking on a business role rather than a Tech role, but I was also encouraged by my talent coach to explore different roles outside my comfort zone. It meant I tried things that I never would have. Moving around different rotations, I realised I liked seeing my work come to life. I wanted something where I could see the outcome at the end stage.

“I spent nine months as a Developer because I wanted to learn the basics of coding.”

When the Degree Apprenticeship was introduced, I grabbed the opportunity and enrolled. I spent nine months as a Developer because I wanted to learn the basics of coding, but ultimately, I knew I wanted to do something more creative - I wanted to be a Designer. So, I spoke to my manager and asked about design opportunities in the team. She was really supportive and helped make it happen – I became a Designer in the team for a year.

The apprenticeship allowed me to get stuck in from day one, and I was exposed to all sorts of learning and career opportunities. You're thrown into the deep end, but you have a really good support network round you to learn and grow, and try things you never would have before. That didn’t just prepare me for work life beyond the apprenticeship; it also pushed me further. I may be a Designer, but during my apprenticeship I had to facilitate my own research, manage my own project, take on various roles, and do more than is expected of a Designer. That’s really set me up to be the person I am today. It’s built my confidence and opened my eyes to what I can achieve.

I’m now part of the Customer Insight, Research & Design team, where I was recently promoted to Senior Designer. In my role, I focus on the customer digital journey across the Barclays app and online banking. My job is to improve how people discover our current accounts and their journey to successfully signing up.

“It's the digital journeys I'm working on and the services that we provide that allow people to live their day-to-day lives.”

Creativity is a big part of what we do, and in my team, creativity comes in all different shapes and sizes. To really thrive here, you need to be curious, to be able to ask why, and to keep asking until you understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what actually is the problem you’re trying to solve.

I'm somebody who likes to see results, and it's rewarding to see that it often has a positive impact on people's lives. It’s a large part of why my job is so fulfilling. People tend to overlook banking, but our finances underpin our day-to-day lives. Money does make a difference, and it's the digital journeys I'm working on and the services that we provide that allow people to live their day-to-day lives; save for a mortgage; or go on holiday. It's all underpinned by finances.

“There’s plenty of training to get involved in, whether it's an internal program or third-party training.”