Software developer has degree of success
Within the space of a few hours, Graduate Apprentice Connor Hay learned he had achieved a 2:1 degree and had been named a finalist at this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Awards. Dundee native Connor will be hoping for a celebratory homecoming when he joins other Awards finalists in the city’s Caird Hall on 7 November.
“It was a very proud day for me. I was delighted to find out about both my degree and my Graduate Apprenticeship and had no idea it was coming - it’s just not something you expect to happen,” said Connor, who is based in Glasgow.
Having joined technology company Leidos as a Modern Apprentice in 2016, he excelled in his role and became a software development Graduate Apprentice – spending one day a week at the University of the West of Scotland.
Graduate Apprentices work, earn and learn to gain a degree. They spend most of their time at work, with time at a university or college working toward a degree qualification. Connor could have gone to university with his five Highers but opted for a different route.
“I hadn’t really considered an apprenticeship, it was only when I came to Leidos on work experience I realised this was what I wanted to do, and this was where I wanted to do it.”
He added: “My brother Paul also works at Leidos and went to university, but it took him four years to get into the same job I’m in and I also avoided student debt. This just shows that apprenticeships are a great way into the industry.”
Software development isn’t Connor’s only passion. He’s also keen to help others progress and wants to give back to the company that gave him his big break. Throughout his Graduate Apprenticeship, Connor acted as a mentor for young apprentices and created a programme for staff called ‘Lunch and Learn,’ which allows individuals to present to their peers and share skills.
Connor said: “I really enjoy working with others and providing them with opportunities to develop. My colleagues have been extremely supportive throughout my journey here. I can’t thank them enough for all their help.”
Leidos Software Development Manager Colin Jack is delighted with the progress Connor has made.
He said: “Connor joined us straight from school and was able to get through work that we wouldn’t have expected. Since then, it’s just been a case of pushing him to his full capabilities. He is incredibly talented and a great guy to have on the team.”
Connor is now set to become Leidos UK's youngest-ever senior developer - which his manager believes is testament to apprenticeships.
Colin said: “I would highly encourage other employers to get involved. Apprentices like Connor provide fresh ideas, a willingness to learn and ultimately make a huge difference to organisations as a whole.”