16/08/2016 13:08 BST | Updated 17/08/2017 06:12 BST

Why Girls Wanting to Go Into STEM Should Consider Apprenticeships

Doing an apprenticeship with Accenture has allowed me to work towards a degree, whilst also giving me a head start in the job market. I learn something new every day, and earn a wage in the process. Plus I get things like half price gym membership, and Accenture pays for my degree and travel to university. They also pay for social nights out - I know other companies do that but I feel like ours are bigger and better!

Nowadays, even if you graduate with a first class degree from university, you're still just part of a big pool of people with very similar qualifications, so it can be difficult getting a job. Plus you have lots of student debt.

I also didn't want to move out - I would've hated living in halls at university. But I've not even had to worry about that as I live at home. I will move out eventually - in a few years!

What I do is called "debugging" - I look through lots of code and if the code fails I look into it, tearing apart different sections to see why it's failing. It's really hard to explain, even to my mum and dad! Some of the work I do is top secret too - so even when people ask me about it I can't go into too much detail.

The first year I applied for an IT apprenticeship with Accenture I didn't get it. Naturally I was upset but I just thought I'm not going to give up, I'm going to go for it again, and it paid off! Now here I am in my second year of the apprenticeship, set to graduate with a foundation degree next summer.

Thinking back to my first day in the office, I was so nervous. I didn't know anyone and it was all men. But I sat down and met my whole team and it was completely fine.

Earlier this year I was selected to feature in the UK government's advertising campaign, Get in Go Far.

It was really surreal seeing myself on camera for the first time. I had to travel down from Newcastle to London to do the filming, and I was really worried about getting to the right place and what they might ask me to do. But it honestly was such an exciting experience, with proper make-up and hair stylists, camera crews and everything. I still have to pinch myself when I think that I'm the face of Accenture's apprentice programme. My friends and family have spotted me on TV and billboards around the city, it's crazy!

There's a real feeling of community and team spirit at work. I'm lucky to have such a patient manager - I really look up to him and hope that, one day, I'll be able to help others in the same way.

Once I have my foundation degree next year, I want to work towards by honours degree here at Accenture.

I love mentoring and have even given talks in local schools to encourage other young people to pursue STEM careers. In fact my sister has just started an apprenticeship here at Accenture! Lots of my friends are also looking into apprenticeships now that they've seen how good they are and the great benefits you get with a large company.

I think misconceptions about the tech industry are one of the main things holding young girls back. Friends of mine often say they could never work in IT because they are only good at art, or humanities subjects. But there are so many roles available to them, as website designers or creative app developers, in industries such as fashion and music to name a few.

We need to encourage girls to explore all of their options. I'm so glad I did!