I never thought that I’d be involved in saving lives – that’s not what my apprenticeship at Cisco was about. But when the world changed, I knew I had to help. After watching daily updates and developments, I saw that there was a need for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and that’s when it dawned on me 

Ollie sets up the work station at home, packing away blue visor fastenors into plastic bags.I could help to efficiently make and distribute PPE by way of 3D Printing! 

 Now, here I am – a Cisco Apprentice currently working for the Customer Experience EMEAR Communications team, at 20-years-old, making and distributing Personal Protection Equipment to care homes and hospitals in the United Kingdom. (Other teams across the globe at Cisco are also helping to make PPE via 3D printing – it’s really been neat to see so many of us come together to help!) 

I built my first 3D printer when I was just 15 years old, but I had gotten rid of it before I moved to London for my Apprenticeship. Still, I knew I had experience in this area, and that I could get started quickly. I began by purchasing two 3D printers, with a goal to distribute 100 masks. 

I was just hoping to make a difference for a few people.  

I’m proud to say that I far exceeded my original goal as I’ve started making 100 masks a day and have made and distributed 1500+ since. Mostly, this is a labor of love and I single handedly run the operation, although my family helps when and where they can. Additionally, my team and Cisco have supported me in giving me the time through our volunteer hours (Cisco employees get 40 hours ever year)  to dedicate to the cause and my passion for helping people. 

And that’s what I love about Cisco, that they foster the passion in each of their employees so that, together, we can help others around the world. While doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals are risking their lives to save others, I just wanted a way to thank them – to show them that their work does not go unnoticed. At the end of the day, I wish I could do and help even more. 

As an apprentice, I’m thankfully used to juggling a busy schedule alongside what my mum calls, ‘saving the world however I can.’ I am used to filling my days with developing necessary skills, studying for my degree, and working full time. The Cisco Apprenticeship is a three-year program that enables me to rotate through different areas of the business. The program also encourages us to always do the best we can, and to help as much as we can, while being the best versions of ourselves. This is also something I’m very passionate about – trying to be the best version of myself. And, I like to think I’m doing an alright job! 

I never could have imagined that I would be working for a company with such a great environment like Cisco. There is so much support and encouragement in not only what you do and where you would like to take your career, but also in your personal goals and interests. Whenever people used to ask me,What do you want from a job when you’re older?’ I always said that I wanted to enjoy it and feel passionate about my job – that is something I can confidently say is true at Cisco. 

How can you help others in these trying times if you don’t have a 3D printer? First, stay safe by washing your hands and use social distancing whenever possible. Also, now is a great time to use technology (like Cisco Webex!) to check on family, friends, and neighbors to see how they are doing. 

Ready to join our team? We’re hiring. Apply now. 


Ollie Gerrard

Cross Functional Apprentice

UKI Apprenticeship Program