Trainees at SNP: Well prepared and quickly in the thick of things
James Allaoui talks about how enjoyed his time as a trainee and what he hopes to learn next.
Interview with James Allaoui, Junior Consultant Technical Transformation at SNP
James talks about his personal experience as a former SNP trainee and about the process and content of the programme.
James, how did you come to SNP in the first place?
I first learnt of SNP through Milkround, about a year after I graduated. The job appealed to me, as data migration was something I was keen to explore further. I did a bit more research on the company via the website and LinkedIn, and it looked like a company which was going in the right direction. Also, being a consultant played a big part in me applying for this role. Being in contact with clients on projects seemed really interesting. I had to wait about two months to get going, but once I started, I saw all the benefits of working for SNP. The culture was great from the off, I felt very welcome.
What does the trainee programme look like and how did you get started?
It started with a three-month training programme, together with the other trainees. We had full support from our mentors and development managers from the very beginning. Following the initial training period, we were tasked with completing a dummy project, carried out in-house. It was good to do it in the office, especially after covid, as I got to meet people face-to-face and it really helped if I was struggling with anything, that I had my fellow juniors to help me out or I could approach my mentor directly. There were four of us who started together. We all came from different backgrounds with different experience. This meant that we brought different skills to the table, which we could share with each other. In the training course we learnt the fundamentals of SAP, ABAP and various other key components. My mentor was in the office giving me support each week on any areas I was struggling with. I also had a development manager who helped me to create targets and explained how I could expect to progress going forward.
Do you think a technical degree is an important prerequisite for SNP trainees?
It’s true that my previous exposure to ABAP and SQL helped me during the training. But we also had another graduate who came from a finance background and that helped with talking to clients. In turn, I had to improve on how to approach and speak to different people, as this was something I hadn’t learnt during my ICT degree. It was only during my training that I gained the confidence in presenting. Even if you do not have a technical degree, there are definitely other beneficial qualities that you could bring on board compared to someone who has a more technical degree.
What happened after bootcamp and how quickly did you gain your first project experience?
The first project I started on was for a global chemicals company. My mentor and development manager were both there with me, which helped me a lot because I could shadow them and put my skills into practice. This helped my progress massively because now I knew what to expect and what it really takes to be a consultant.
How was the cooperation with the team working from home?
In the beginning we were in the office every day. Towards the end of our programme, we slowly started to have days where we were working from home to get us used to hybrid working. The team was very supportive with this as they were always on hand if we needed any help. We knew we could always call them if we got stuck on anything on our projects. The atmosphere is great with my colleagues as I know I can count on them. They gave me the confidence to ask questions (and they taught me there’s no such thing as a silly question!)
How are you doing today in your job as a consultant?
I am still enjoying it! What I particularly like about my role is that every day is different. You get to do different tasks each day when you are working on a project. Also, you get to work with different people, which means that you get to see how different people approach things. I still get help from my mentor and development manager as I work on the same projects as them, which is great. They are still helping me progress. What I like best about SNP is that everyone is so helpful and make time for each other – this really makes things easier!