1. Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship as opposed to a university degree?
There were a number of reasons why I opted to go for an apprenticeship instead of a university degree. One reason was because of the cost of university to both myself and my parents. I didn’t want to get my first job after university and be in debt from student loans and I didn’t want to burden my parents. Another key reason was that I wanted to gain work experience and earn money from an apprenticeship whilst also studying. I also believe that it will benefit my career in IT as I am gaining a valuable nationally recognised IT qualifications which I can add to my CV.
2. What was your interest in IT?
I have had an interest in IT since I was about 10 years old when I got my first computer. I always thought it was fascinating how you can connect with someone who is on the opposite side of the world and talk to them as if you were next to them. At school, I always was better at IT than other subjects. I took IT as a subject choice in school and then in sixth form I chose a further educational IT qualification which I passed with distinction.
3. Why did you join Abavus?
After I finished sixth form, I wanted to go straight into an apprenticeship to achieve further IT qualifications and get practical work experience. I had an Interview at Abavus with the Operations Director & Chief Solutions Architect. As well asking me questions they were keen to explain to me what the role would entail. I got a really good first impression of the company and I think they had the same about me because, on the train home, the Operations Director called me and offered me a position. I did have other opportunities with larger organisations, but I wanted to work for a smaller company as there are more interactions with different people throughout the company. I’m glad I decided to join.
4. What was your role when you started Abavus? and how has it developed?
My role when I first joined as a “Technical Support Executive”. The role to manage issues received from customers and to resolve them as quickly and as professionally as possible via our support desk technology. After a year working with Abavus I was developed into other areas of the company and now I am working in a project management-based role.
5.What did you find challenging about doing the course and working full time?
Juggling the coursework with full-time working was a struggle for the first month, but after that, I organised myself by prioritising my full-time work, and if I had spare time during work I would work on my coursework. I also worked on the coursework some weekends to keep myself on track. The exam side of the course was slightly harder to navigate, to teach myself the exams I worked on after the working day and on the weekends to make sure I passed with a good grade. The Support Director at Abavus also makes sure that the apprentices are working properly not only in their role but also in their studies.
6. What do you enjoy most about the role?
I enjoy interacting socially with customers and creating a plan of action for each project that I work on. I like progressing with the projects as it gives me satisfaction with each step that is completed. I appreciate spending time with my colleagues and managers. Due to it being a smaller company, everyone works closely so it’s like one big team operating together in different ways. This has made it easier to create relationships with my colleagues and managers and has made me enjoy the work even more.
7. How has your role changed since the pandemic?
My role did alter slightly as COVID took hold. The majority of the work that I did for a long period was from home. It has also restricted travel to meet customers on-site.
8. Is there anything about the apprenticeship scheme that you would change?
Because of COVID most learning has been online. Ordinarily, I would have been going into training centres to be taught content. Due to this, I have had to teach myself more using past papers and through watching YouTube videos. I believe this has demonstrated the dedication I have to learn by myself and make the most out of a difficult COVID learning situation.
9. What are your career goals as you reach the end of your apprenticeship?
After my apprenticeship finally concludes, my career goals are to stay in the IT sector and progress on my journey with Abavus. I would like to be a consultant further down the line and keep managing projects and continuing the journey I have begun.
10. What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of taking a similar route?
Firstly, weigh up your career options and decide what career path would suit you best. I have no regrets whatsoever that I took this route and my parents are of a similar view. If you do decide to go down the apprentice route, find the right company and a role that you really want to do. Also, prepare well for the interview it’s really competitive. Finally, I would also say be prepared to be pushed outside your comfort zone as you will have new responsibilities that test your wider skills including time management, communication, and team working.