By Alisa Berisha, Project Manager, Bravura Solutions

Special edition on National Apprenticeship Week (UK) 5-11 February, 2024

It is never simple explaining how and why I entered the world of Financial Technology, but I’ll do my best. Having completed my A-Levels in a somewhat eclectic mix of Maths, Philosophy and Geography as well as an abandoned AS-Level in English Literature (sorry Mum), it became clear that university wasn’t the right path for me.

I have worked in some capacity since the age of 14 and thrived in a practical learning environment. As a teenager, I loved working with people and the responsibility that came with holding down a job gave me a sense of structure during a somewhat unsettling stage of life. Despite this, when it came to deciding what to do after leaving school, I was unaware of any alternative to university.

When I came to learn about apprenticeships, it seemed like a no-brainer – a way to gain entry into a company while being supported in studies. However, my grammar school, like many others I fear, had little interest in showcasing this option. Apprenticeships, for me anyway, were buried under a heap of expectations around going to university, especially if you were academic. I am glad to see this changing now as apprenticeships have become a well-respected route for so many in a range of industries.

I decided to pursue this route and found Bravura Solutions. Joining the company as an apprentice at 19, I spent the first 18 months in the Project Management Office working towards my Level 4 APM qualification. Upon completion, I transitioned to a Project Manager role while concurrently undertaking a degree in Computer Science through a partnership with Birkbeck, University of London. Throughout my degree studies, I’ve had the opportunity to closely collaborate with the development team, delivering large-scale platform upgrades and regulatory projects for industry-leading clients.

Balancing studying and working is challenging, but it is also truly rewarding. My apprenticeships have seen me through many ups and downs and throughout it all, I’ve evolved professionally and personally with the support of a company sponsoring my journey.

I think apprenticeships give young people a sense of responsibility and structure as well as the room to grow, learn and be unashamedly curious while doing so. My advice to the younger generation of apprentices would be to challenge the status quo and be honest about what you think. You’re young and may be inexperienced but still have a voice and the ability to influence.

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