Smith Institute supports our clients to make smarter data-driven decisions that make their businesses more efficient, effective and sustainable. In order to provide the best possible service, it’s vital that we remain at the forefront of data science and understand the key themes and trends that are emerging. A key element of this is nurturing and supporting young Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals, who are going to be the future of the industry.
We have a range of apprenticeships and internships throughout the business, including 3 wonderful Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprentices, Hannah, Jack and Craig. They work in our Computing and IT department with our Business Systems Manager, Nigel Marsh and Head of Computing, Caroline Edwards.
In addition to apprenticeships we also support young STEM professionals in the following ways:
- We partner with universities to provide Summer Projects mentoring mathematics students to demonstrate the real-world impact of advanced mathematics. You can read about one of our Summer Projects students’ experiences here.
- The TakeAIM competition provides the opportunity for mathematics and data science students to showcase their research to industry leaders and leading figures in academia – a wonderful chance to put themselves on the map. You can discover more about the competition and this year’s prize winners here.
- Finally, we have a range of internships available for STEM graduates to join our technical team and gain a thorough understanding of how we apply STEM expertise to benefit our clients.
Hannah, Jack, and Craig recently discussed their apprenticeship experiences and how they’ve progressed during their time at Smith Institute.
What did you find attractive about the company?
Hannah: Many of the companies offering the Digital Solutions Apprenticeship are big multinationals, but I felt that working at a smaller, more agile organisation like the Smith Institute would give me more chance to feel like a valued member of the company. I felt I would be able to build more personal relationships with more colleagues and would be able to work on a wider variety of projects in more detail.
Jack: The apprenticeship caught my eye as it was going to allow me to start getting hands-on experience with working in the field of Computing & IT without sacrificing further education in the form of a degree. Also, when reading through the job description I was excited at how varied it looked to be, with parts of the role being about exploring new technologies.
What surprised you about working here?
Hannah: When I started, I was apprehensive and worried that I wouldn’t fit in with the company and would struggle to adapt to the working day. Since I would be working remotely, I also worried that this would distance me from my colleagues. However, Smith Institute handled remote working well; I felt welcome from the first day and have had plenty of opportunities to talk and work with my colleagues.
Jack: The independence. I was amazed at how free I was to explore and experiment with solutions to problems and or tasks I was assigned. Within the first month of my starting, I was independently relocating data from an old server to the cloud using technologies expanding and pushing my boundaries.
Craig: I was struck immediately by the breadth of activities the role could and would include. I had assumed that as it was an apprenticeship, my role might be quite limited, but as soon as I started there were so many different activities to do, from Cloud management to software development to helping a colleague out when they experience an issue. The range of activities always keeps you on your toes so there’s never any feeling of monotony.
What have you been involved in?
Hannah: Since joining, I have had the chance to work on both internal projects and projects for customers. As part of the team working for a major overseas customer, I got to draft code that automated the testing of a complex web application. One of the internal projects I’ve been involved in is creating an interface for staff to view and request leave, as part of a group of ‘microservices’ for us to develop.
Craig: In my time at Smith Institute, I have had the opportunity to work on a selection of projects for the improvement of our internal services and a few projects for clients. This has included activities such as pioneering the use of the Cloud in the organisation through to developing web interfaces for models developed for clients.
What have you learnt?
Craig: Since starting at Smith Institute, I have gained a vast quantity of technical knowledge and many technical skills across all areas I work in. While I had experience in some areas such as programming, the depth of my knowledge has greatly increased while using them in practical work. But I have also gained and developed skills for the workplace, such as becoming better at communicating ideas and issues to colleagues.
If you would like to explore career opportunities with Smith Institute, why not check out our careers page?
If you would like to take your first steps into a career in STEM, why not check out our available internships on our careers page?