Aidan McCarthy, Vodafone Ireland.
Aidan McCarthy, Vodafone Ireland. Image: Vodafone

Graduate: ‘I love the variety Vodafone has to offer me’

26 Sep 2017

Want to know what the graduate programme is like at Vodafone Ireland?

Graduate programmes are everywhere, especially at this time of year, but it’s important for graduates to pick the one that’s right for them.

Every major company is pitching to graduates right now, enticing them with the best training, the coolest culture and the perfect career opportunities.

However, the best way to really learn about what a certain programme is like is to hear from the graduates themselves. One such graduate is Aidan McCarthy of Vodafone Ireland.

What did you study in college?

I studied a bachelor of arts in economics and geography in University College Cork. While I was on the graduate programme, I completed a diploma in digital marketing as well as a diploma in human resource management.

With this programme, are you now working in your desired industry?

Yes. I have always been very interested in the world of digital, from working in a telecoms retail store part-time while in college.

During my studies, I had a really keen interest in human resource economics and the labour market, so to be working in HR now is great, and the Vodafone graduate programme provided me this opportunity.

What drew you to Vodafone when you were seeking work as a graduate?

I have always been a Vodafone customer and so have all my family so, growing up, I have always felt a strong affiliation with the Vodafone brand.

What really attracted me to the company was the great things previous graduates had said about this programme. Hearing what a great place Vodafone was to work, both from internal and external parties, was a real attraction.

What expectations did you have before you began the programme?

I originally thought the programme was going to be like going on The Apprentice, coming into a programme with other corporate professionals. I felt I would be a bit intimidated. I could not have been more wrong!

Everyone here is so friendly and welcoming. There is no hierarchy in the organisation structure, and senior people are very accessible.

Everyone in the company really appreciates the graduates and really helps them to grow their skill sets. So, Vodafone really exceeded my expectations and went above and beyond to help me feel welcome within the company.

What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?

My first rotation, I was placed on an IT transformation project. The purpose of this project was to look at ways that we could improve customer experience through technology.

My role within this transformation project was customer experience analyst. It was a massive high-impact project within which I was given real responsibility to lead on and deliver significant value to the business.

Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?

Massively. I worked for two different business units on the graduate programme and now I work permanently in the HR function.

I went from being a customer experience analyst, dealing with external vendors, holding customer focus groups and identifying capability gaps in our customer experience, to being a project manager for the regulatory team, supporting a business-critical project from end to end.

Now, I work in the HR function as a learning and development adviser.

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

It’s hard to describe a typical day for me here in Vodafone, as everything varies in my day-to-day.

Working in the HR function, I have the pleasure of dealing with most employees in the company and helping to support their learning and development needs through creating online learning content, classroom training, coaching and mentoring.

I have also been given the opportunity to take the lead on our new Vodafone internship programme and our apprenticeship programme, while being heavily involved in the running of the graduate programme. This has been an amazing opportunity for me, considering I only started on the graduate programme in 2015.

So, a day for me in Vodafone can vary drastically, from being in meetings about training, to being out recruiting for graduates, to planning sessions for our internship programme – I love the variety Vodafone has to offer me.

The other great thing about working here is the fact the building has so much to offer, in terms of the on-site gym, coffee stations, restaurant facilities, and there is even a barber on-site on certain days to get my hair cut if I didn’t want to waste time doing it at the weekend.

Vodafone really promotes flexible working and this has been amazing as a young person coming into the workplace, to be able to work somewhere that promotes work-life balance and encourages it.

How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees?

On the graduate programme, you are given great responsibility, which is really exciting and gets you ready for when you come off the programme.

Vodafone puts trust in its grads to perform really well and deliver fantastic results. The support you receive on the programme, as well as the responsibility, makes you feel proud as a person starting off your career with a company that puts so much faith in you.

Do you feel more prepared for working life after completing this programme?

I have learned so much on this programme and it has not only helped me grow my professional skills – such as stakeholder management, presentation and Excel skills – it has helped me grow personally, also.

I had so much fun on this programme and am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work for a company that both allows me to have fun and do the work I want to do. Vodafone has really set me up for success in my future career.

Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at Vodafone?

For anyone that is thinking of applying, I would highly encourage it, as it is a great opportunity to grow your skills, you gain great experience within the workplace (be it in a technical or commercial role) and you also have a lot of fun along the way.

Also, there is no better feeling than working for a company whose purpose is to connect everybody to live a better today and build a better tomorrow.

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