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Future of Work | Gen Z |

Apprentice Spotlight | Samantha Allen, JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase’s youth apprenticeship offers a hybrid work environment for high school students to get paid hands-on work experience while still getting their diploma. One apprentice, Samantha Allen, started her apprenticeship when she was 16 years old and quickly learned the ins and outs of having an “adult job.” Throughout her apprenticeship, she has been supervised by Constantinos Vyras, who recognized how quickly Samantha could pick up on her tasks and learned just how valuable apprentices can be for a company.

Below are two Q&As with Samantha and Constantinos about their experiences as an apprentice and as an apprentice’s supervisor.

Q & A with Apprentice, Samantha A

What motivated you to pursue an apprenticeship, and how did you find your apprenticeship opportunity?

I found out about the CareerWise apprenticeship opportunity from my school. My technology teacher invited previous apprentices and a representative from CareerWise to present on the program and their personal experiences. At first, I was not planning to apply for the apprenticeship because I was only 15 and didn’t see myself participating in it. But my teacher strongly encouraged the class to at least complete the application and consider the opportunity. After applying and going through the interview process, my mindset changed, and I started looking forward to this new opportunity.

What were some of the most valuable skills or lessons you learned during your apprenticeship?

The two most valuable lessons that I have learned through this apprenticeship are no questions are considered bad questions, and always expand your network. I consider these two to be the most valuable. Most likely, as an apprentice you are going to be the youngest in the room, and you may be scared to ask questions, but you shouldn’t be. Your managers and coworkers are there to help you understand what you are working on. For networking, you never know who you’re going to meet and networking is the key to making long-term professional connections.

How have you navigated any challenges or obstacles that you have encountered during your apprenticeship?

If I encountered any challenges or obstacles, I would go to my manager and ask for help on how I should go about the situation. Then he would provide me with next steps and advice on what I should do for future situations.

Can you share any accomplishments or successes you have experienced during your apprenticeship?

One thing I consider an accomplishment I experienced in my apprenticeship is being able to provide aid to my team and seeing the results from projects I’ve assisted with. I believe this to be an accomplishment because the work I do on my team in-turn helps our broader business and the entire company. And it makes me proud to the positive impact of my work on such a large scale.

Q & A with JPMorgan Chase Supervisor, Constantinos Vyras

Can you share a success story of an apprentice that you have worked with in the past?

We had the pleasure of having Samantha join our team last year. In her short time with us thus far, she has added value and created a positive impact both on our team and on the wider business. Samantha has proven to be a fast learner, and was able to hit the ground running! Samantha has contributed to a variety of projects. Some highlights include assisting with driving online channels adoption, and performing data remediations aimed at improving our data quality. Additionally, Samantha is responsible for compiling our monthly newsletter.

How do you ensure that apprentices feel supported and included in the workplace?

I cannot overstate the importance of feeling supported and included in the workplace. This can be particularly crucial for apprentices, who are often joining the work environment for the first time. Navigating the first stages of a career can be intimidating for any apprentice regardless of the role and industry.

Fortunately, there are several things a manager can do to ensure that apprentices feel supported and included in the workplace. For me, the most important ones are:

  •   Recognizing the uniqueness of each apprentice. This will help pave the way for fostering an inclusive and supportive working environment. Each person is unique, therefore one must tailor their management and support style to reflect this.
  •   Offering autonomy and providing support. Offering autonomy fosters independence and confidence, while providing support ensures apprentices have the guidance needed.
  •   Being available outside regular 1-1s catch up meetings. Apprenticeships can be demanding. Balancing work and school/college is challenging. Mental health and wellbeing are priority.

What are the essential skills or qualities that you look for in an apprentice?

When it comes down to apprentices, interns, graduates or anyone trying to get their foot into the door, I am not looking for specific hard skills or deep industry knowledge. I approach it from a more foundational angle. With the appropriate resources and environment an apprentice can learn, and in time become subject matter experts in their respective area.

The foundational qualities I always look for are:

  • Enthusiasm and passion
  • Determination and persistence
  • Willingness to learn
  • Communication
  • Work ethic
  • Motivation
  • Team work

Qualities are the paint and skills are the tools. Together, with time and support they can make a masterpiece!