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Apprentice Success Story - Aaron Wilkins

Taking a Chance – An IT Business Analyst Apprentice Success Story

In 2019, Aaron Wilkins reached a crossroads in life. While he had a college degree in education and worked at a school for several years, it soon became evident that teaching wasn’t a career he wanted to pursue long-term. As he evaluated potential career paths, Aaron thought back to the passion he had for technology that had started in high school. He initially assumed that one could only enter the tech world if they studied computer science in college. However, upon learning that apprenticeship programs offer a hands-on learning experience, he decided to Google “IT apprenticeships.” This is how Aaron first learned about Apprenti. 

After applying to Apprenti, Aaron was invited to interview for an IT Business Analyst apprenticeship at Great American Insurance Company (GAIC). Aaron was offered the position and started RTI in a remote setting alongside a committed cohort. During technical training, he acquired foundational knowledge for ITBAs such as Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Fundamentals, Agile project management, and data visualization and analysis. 

During RTI, Aaron reached out to Apprenti’s Access Team. The team is focused on supporting individuals with disabilities throughout their apprenticeship journey. Aaron shared that anxiety and depression had impacted him at work in the past, and that he wanted to create an action plan before OJT started. The Access Team provided recommendations for accommodations, including integrating movement throughout his work day by utilizing the office gym, scheduling uninterrupted work time, using software to pause Slack and email notifications, as well as a desk light to offset seasonal affective disorder. Aaron implemented the accommodations throughout the remainder of technical training, and connected with Great American’s HR department at the beginning of OJT to ensure he received the appropriate tools and supports. 

Aaron’s proactive approach to requesting and implementing accommodations afforded him a smooth transition into OJT. Once in the office, Aaron learned how the foundational ITBA knowledge acquired during technical training applied to problems his team was tasked to solve. Within Aaron’s cohort of IT Business Analyst apprentices at Great American, each team had a different area of focus. Aaron primarily served as a liaison between users and developers. His team worked on creating database objects, understanding user needs around data storage, and working with developers to administer the database and oversee transactions. In this role, he interfaces with many different teams, and feels most energized when he finds a solutions that works for all parties.  

Upon completing his apprenticeship, Aaron was retained Great American and still works for the company as an Associate IT Business Analyst. He continues to lean into challenges and takes advantage of employee opportunities, including joining a group called ‘Forth at 4th.’ This resource group is focused on facilitating connections between new and existing employees. It also helps them develop a better understanding of company offerings. Aaron also joined a local chapter of the National African American Insurance Association to connect with other Black workers in the insurance space.

Aaron is so grateful that he took a risk and pursued his passion for tech. Ultimately, his tech apprenticeship has led him down a new path where he has continued to learn, grow, and bring value to his new team.

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