Emma Delaney, 19, started her digital marketing career as a Social Media Marketing Assistant at Take 3.
She wanted to gain real life experience to give me her an edge over others her age looking to get in to the industry.
After considering her options she decided that university was not the right choice for her, right now. Instead, she saw that hands on experience was crucial in a creative industry like digital marketing.
Last year Take 3 took on an apprentice with the help of Just IT. Now 19 year old Emma has become an indispensable member of the team.
The award-winning film production company realised they had a digital marketing gap that needed filling, and not enough hours in the day to take the extra work upon themselves – which is where Emma came in.
Richard Smith, Managing Director at Take 3, said “We’re a small enterprise, and there’s only so much a business our size can do, so it’s great to have someone from outside come in and really take ownership of it.
We set Emma ridiculous targets, but she always meets them.”
For Emma, an apprenticeship was the clear choice to position herself above other young people trying to break in to the digital sector: “I wanted to gain real life experience to give me the edge over everyone else who’s my age.
My role is constantly evolving. At the beginning it was just simple tasks, but the longer I’m here the more I’m doing. I’ve started to get involved with campaign work and assisting the team with account handling. I’ve learnt so much and it’s great to see results.
When you’re an apprentice you’re welcomed, respected and treated as part of the team. You have a lot of responsibility in the areas you’re working in. In a few years I see myself being an Executive or Manager rather than an assistant.”
Without the apprenticeship scheme Take 3 may not have been able to realise their high social ambitions. Emma’s great work ethic mixed with the comprehensive training provided by Just IT have resulted in a brilliant partnership.
Richard added ”It’s great that we’ve been able to take Emma on this learning curve to put her in good stead for the rest of her career. I’d certainly recommend taking on an apprentice to other companies.”
David Philips started his career as a Networking and Support Apprentice at Cordant Group – a recruitment and technical services company. At only 19 he has already proven his worth as a talented IT professional ready to step up to any challenge, and has moved up the ranks to an IT Support Analyst.
Like most new IT Apprentices, David had no technical experience before coming to Just IT. However by halfway through the Apprenticeship he had already shown so much progress that Cordant knew they were going to offer him a full time position.
ADAPTING TO CHANGE
Yet David’s development into a valued member of the Cordant team was not all smooth sailing. When the company went through a large scale restructure two months into his Apprenticeship, David quickly had to adapt to change and take on more responsibility.
“I was dropped in the deep end, but I enjoy a challenge. I broke a few bits and bobs whilst learning, but I always but came out on top. It’s the best way of learning.”
Quickly recognising his need for an on-site mentor, Senior Systems Engineer Lee Mothersele stepped in and made sure David had all the tools he needed to succeed. “There’s been a lot of changes, but he’s coped extremely well. We weren’t intending to take someone on full time, but it soon became clear we were going to offer him a contract.”
THE RIGHT SUPPORT
After Lee stepped in as manager, David felt assured that he had a technical expert to learn from: “Although he doesn’t have to, my boss travels about two hours in the morning just to support me, which I really appreciate. I’m not sure he realises how much that’s helped me.”
Lee doesn’t mind taking on the extra work-load as it’s rewarding watching David grow in this role: “At the end of the day it’s just a bit of extra journey time. I want to support him in his job. We’re friends outside of work too now, he’s even invited me round for dinner with his parents.
“David is the first Apprentice we’ve had, but we would definitely have another. I think the scheme is great, young people leave school and often they don’t know where to go. This is a foot in the door, and If like David you get offered a job after the year then what a great start in life.”
EXTRA POUNDS IN YOUR POCKET
For David, choosing an Apprenticeship was not a difficult decision. He has always known university wasn’t for him. “There’s nothing wrong with education but I’m more of a hands on person. It’s paid off as my role has progressed, I’ve just been promoted to IT Support Analyst.
“Not going to uni also means I’m more in pocket than out. Whilst my friends are struggling for cash I’m saving to buy a house.”
From a young age Celdon Silveria knew he wanted to work in IT, but seeing his friends struggle to find employment after finishing lengthy degrees he knew there had to be a better way.
Not wanting to suffer the same fate of forking out thousands to be left without a career, the 19-year-old sought out more information about Apprenticeships.
Celdon came to Just IT seven months ago with aspirations of landing a Networking and Support job.
A FRESH START
Celdon said “I’d been to college but knew it was time to get some practical experience. “I was nervous about going out to interviews but Just IT’s pre-employment sessions taught me how to make a good impression on employers.
“Nerves got the better of me with my first interview but Just IT soon lined up a second with Transputec who decided to take me on! I was so happy when I was offered the Configuration Engineer job, my friends and family even threw a party to celebrate.
”As someone who would frequently take apart computers and mess around with new tech, a job in IT is a dream come true. “The best part of my work is installing software and finding drivers. I love problem solving.” Transputec is an innovative IT solutions enterprise offering a diverse range of integrated business solutions and IT services.
Celdon’s role is constantly evolving. “As I complete my training and become more confident with my skills, I gain more responsibility. I like everything about working at Transputec, but the best thing is the people. After I finish my Apprenticeship I want to stay on with the company, and after a few years I hope to pursue higher qualifications.”
Martin Mitchell, Celdon’s manager, thinks that having an Apprentice in the team is a win-win situation. He said “Apprentices like Celdon are a great asset to any company. They bring a new lease of life, along with new ideas.
“Once they have training under their belt, they start thinking about the direction they want to take their career. We’re happy that Celdon wants to progress here, and with Transputec being a full IT company, there are plenty of routes for him to move into.”
UNIVERSITY VS APPRENTICESHIP
Celdon hasn’t looked back since he started his Apprenticeship six months ago. He added: “I would always recommend an Apprenticeship over university, especially for the IT sector. The skills you need are constantly changing, and IT is a growing sector.
“In the past it was easy to get a job with a degree, but now you need real work experience first. “The bottom line is Apprenticeships give you experience, education and some money in your pocket.”
“The bottom line is Apprenticeships give you experience, education and some money in your pocket.”
After realising at school that he had a talent for IT, Jordan Bailey began his search for the perfect apprenticeship.
Now, as a Customer Service Advisor at Cortel (a telecoms services company based in Shoreditch) he gets to work with the big name companies he loves.
18 year old Jordan didn’t take to conventional subjects, instead nding his feet in technology: “unlike maths or English, I loved IT. I’ve always been condent with the subject – it’s one of my main strengths.” Jordan saw an apprenticeship as the perfect stepping stone between school and work, “if I had just jumped into a big job I would’ve lacked the skills and knowledge I’d need to excel. This way, I took the first step and I’m building my skills as I go.”
BEATING THE INTERVIEW NERVES
Like many others in his shoes, Jordan was nervous about making a great impression at his interview.
“I was nervous when it came to it. I spoke to a few different companies, and then I found a great match with Cortel. The sessions at Just IT came in really handy. The CV workshops were helpful too, I’ll use those skills forever.”
Jordan has now become a key part of the team, “working with Ishani and my colleagues is great. Having people around me and supporting me has boosted my confidence no end.”
Ishani Chhabra, Account Manager at Cortel, has high hopes of Jordan, “I can see him being a manager in the future, I would be so happy for him to get there.
“Apprentices are constantly learning and have a platform to practice all their new skills on. It’s really rewarding seeing the results. You have to help them grow, but in return the company grows, and you learn from them in the process.
“When people come into a company with experience under their belt, sometimes they’re already set in their ways. With apprentices, their outlook and approach to work is fresh.
“Jordan is a keen learner, a hard worker and always enthusiastic.”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Speaking to different clients means that Jordan has learnt to deal with even the trickiest of customers:“Now I know how to manage people and make sure they’re happy. I know how to communicate in a more business-like way, but I also enjoy getting to know the customers.
“I’m enjoying my Apprenticeship because it’s a new experience. Every day I’m learning new things.”
Looking to the future, Jordan has high hopes for his career: “I’m a team player so I can see myself staying in a team environment, my aim is to work for a company like EE. Earn the big bucks!”
Rebecca Kitt has started her social media apprenticeship at CompTIA. She has demonstrated herself as a young and enthusiastic individual with a drive to learn.
After seeing the impact Rebecca has had on the company, CompTIA will consider taking on another apprentice in the future.
MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION
Rebecca knew that university wasn’t for her, especially in grammar school where university was portrayed as the only option after sixth form. “The whole academic side was not for me, I wanted to learn whilst I was doing it. I wanted to have the problem put towards me and fix it right there and then instead of writing it down on a piece of paper. It was the practical side I wanted and the experience”.
As an apprentice, adapting to change becomes a key part to the programme. Being social media focused, meant taking part in other aspects of the business. Rebecca is currently involved in tasks for the Middle East, which she is learning more about. “I am learning about what content would work over different regions, not everyone is going to be interested in what the UK is interested in”.
“The only thing about university is that all of my friends are there. I knew it wasn’t for me and some of the things they tell me makes me realise how much I made the right decision. If I had gone, I wouldn’t have known what to do, I would have probably done Marketing which is such a broad subject, but with the Social Media Apprenticeship, I now have a clearer direction of my career pathway”.
Rebecca has always had a keen interest in IT, she undertook Computer Science as a GCSE, but was not able to do it as an A-Level; that’s when she completed her Business and IT studies. “A social media apprenticeship sounds much more interesting than computer science”.
THE RIGHT SUPPORT
“If I ever have a problem, I know I have always got someone to go to no matter what. Even if I have to fall back to Just IT staff, the support is always there and I’ve never been left alone with a problem”. Rebecca used to be a shy candidate who found herself nervous when communicating with people over the phone or in person, she can now communicate much better and has no problem answering the phone – she is always willing to help. The confidence has come from taking on tasks in a hands on approach, as opposed to listening to a teacher talking and then writing down the answers.
Sophie Carter, Rebecca’s employer and partner in the marketing department has watched Rebecca grow into the employee that she is today. “I think she has definitely brought in a different angle as she is much younger than the people we normally take on. She is now the prime person to talk to, she knows what the younger generation is thinking and wanting which has developed a larger insight on social media. We only used to really use Twitter and Facebook, but now Rebecca is looking into Snapchat and Instagram as that’s what young adults use and she is using it every day”.
Rebecca will be starting her learning course in January, but she has demonstrated good work ethics whilst getting involved in wider parts of the business instead of just focusing on social media. The marketing team will be going to Chicago next week, where they will be visiting the headquarters and meeting the rest of the team. This will give Rebecca a better insight on the impacts and influences that play a huge part in her work.
Alex Briscariu is currently a Junior Consultant on one of our IT Apprenticeships in London at Capital Capture. They are one of the leading providers of information and data management workflow solutions. Alex will soon be completing the programme.
Like most apprentices, Alex chose to do an apprenticeship for the practical side and during his time on the programme, there has been no looking back. “I prefer being in the workplace rather than spending 5-6 years studying. The thing with university is that graduates are going to come out with experience in Windows 7, when our software is already two times ahead, so they will have to learn something new anyway”.
Since Alex started his IT Apprenticeship in London, he has noticed how much he has changed and what challenges he has overcome. “Before I joined Just IT, I had a little bit of background in the field which helped me a lot. I have learnt how to speak with clients and face them, and I have become more used to the work environment. In the beginning I wasn’t confident when communicating with clients, I am still working on that as English is not my first language, which was a barrier back then, but now I am more confident it’s so much easier”.
Alex’s job role is different to what he thought it would be, which is what makes him believe that IT Apprenticeships in London are better. There is more involvement in other tasks around the office, some in which you are not taught in university. “First of all my job role is based around client communication, I thought I would just be fixing PC’s, but I have learnt much more about customer interaction. Before I used to struggle, but now I enjoy it”.
Not only has the year on the apprenticeship programme made him learn more about the company and communicating with clients, but Alex now has a clearer idea as to what he would like to do in the future. “I see myself here, if not, then I would like to stay in the same department. I didn’t know anything about it, but now it’s just really nice. Before I was too scared to even touch a phone and now I do it all the time. I would even recommend consultancy jobs to others!”
Alex has been interested in IT since he was a kid. “I remember building my PC and playing with it. Now I can do everything I enjoy here. I have been on site which is my main role, and I prefer it because you can learn a lot more”. There is always something to learn, and we all want to develop our skills, and for Alex, this is something that interests him. “I want a full understanding of customer interaction and to understand their needs. The technical side comes with experience, but my main thing to focus on now is what the customer wants”.
Not only has Alex enjoyed himself on the programme, but his employer Adrian has found it really useful too. “It has been really good for us, he came in last year as an apprentice and had to start from the bottom. The scheme has been great because it has found us new talent and at a good rate. If we hadn’t been involved in the scheme, we would not have got somebody in. Alex has come out of college and straight into the world of business. When he started his role, he worked with the team to understand what we did as a company. He has taken work related exams and has developed as a person throughout the year”.
The programme challenges young adults. It helps them adapt to the working world and understand the responsibility it requires. “One of the major considerations with an apprentice coming straight from school is that it is their first time in the workplace and they don’t know what to expect. Not just the technical side, but understanding how a company works and how business is undertaken. Alex has had good work related experience over the past year. He has developed from a keen student into someone who is confident and understands the workplace. Alex has added value to our company during his apprenticeship”.
Keira left college and wanted to start doing development. She wanted to learn more especially where her secondary school wasn’t teaching her much. Now Keira is a Developer at GB & Smith which centrally manages and audits security policies across Enterprise Applications Data.
She knew an Apprenticeship in development would be right for her as she wanted to learn more, and secondary school wasn’t teaching a lot of it. “In school we did a little bit, but it wasn’t that in depth. I was 17 when I became interested and I began to use online videos to teach myself.”
The programme is good for those who want to get hands-on experience within the industry they’re interested in. Keira has stayed satisfied with her work and the environment she is in. “I enjoy meeting people from different places, there’s a mixture of people in the office so I get to learn various words in other languages. But what I like to most about this job is that I am able to solve problems and that’s what I really want to keep doing.”
During the time on an Apprenticeship, young adults achieve so much, they strengthen their skill set and they are able to determine what works well for them and what doesn’t. There is a good starting point for young people to help them develop. “I stated off by creating the website’s blog theme from scratch and getting it up and running. Every now and then someone will ask me to fix a bug or change something on the website, which will involve me going through different files and copying the data onto the website. I am also in the process of putting up software instructions on the website as a support guide for customers to use”
There are a lot of challenges to face, and for every individual it varies. Keira’s main improvement was working a technology called Symphony which is a framework for infinity. “I am getting there now, but I think it’s great how much support you receive on the programme.”
“I like the responsibilities I am given in the workplace. My biggest project was fixing our website. The one we had before didn’t work properly on a mobile, the font stayed small and it was really hard to see. I created a new version and implemented the content”
Keira is another one of our Apprentices who does not regret not going to university. “I definitely would not choose to go; it’s nothing compared to 3-4 years of real work. If I had gone, I would still be there doing theory. Technology is moving fast, so the theoretical learning would probably not be relevant. I made the choice not to go when I was studying my GCSE’s – writing essays is not my thing.”
Experience is what helps make career decisions and plans. “I know now that development is what I want to do and I have a plan; I hope to eventually going more responsibility which will lead to more money.”
Keira’s employer Tomas was also willing to share his experience with the programme. “We decided to employ an Apprentice as we were looking for someone without any previous experience because we wanted to teach someone from scratch and we thought it could be an advantage to both sides. A company can learn a lot from an Apprentice as it’s about teaching; Apprentices don’t know the fundamentals and the basic principles of web development and software engineering, so it’s important for us to pass down the good principles.”
It’s common for Apprentices to add value to a company. “Keira is young and brings a new mentality to web development. She has made our website look good and she has been responsible for making it appear modern. Our web developers are a bit older, and for us it’s really important that our website looks good. Although it’s not something we sell, it’s what we use to draw in more customers.”
We asked Tomas on his thoughts of an Apprenticeship being an alternative to university. “I would say it’s a good choice, but I think it’s a different path. There are advantages to it; degrees are really expensive, Apprenticeships allow young adults to earn money – of course it’s not a lot in the beginning, but you start to earn more over time. At least Apprentices will have the experience and know the basic principles of a work environment. Experience is really important to employers.
Keira gets really good feedback. The younger the adult the better, they have not picked up any bad habits from a previous job – they are young and ready to learn everything with a fresh mind. When I was 18 I wasn’t even thinking about getting a proper job, I was just thinking about university so I do think it’s really useful to have a real trustworthy programme for young adults to follow their careers.
The one recommendation I give is for employers to take the time to sit down with Apprentices and help them learn. If you are constantly under stress then your Apprentice won’t have the chance to learn everything. Overall we would definitely consider taking on another Apprentice in the future once our current Apprentices have completed the programme.”
Sihon Maledon has been an apprentice at Virtual IT, a company who understands companies that just want their IT services to work so that they can concentrate on running their businesses. Sihon has been on the programme since March 2015, and has been enjoying the last few months left.
It’s interesting to see what reasons make young adults choose the apprenticeship programme, and for Sihon, it was all about doing what he enjoys. “The IT apprenticeship has helped me more than A-Levels as you now have your foot in the door. In education I couldn’t just concentrate on IT, I had to do other subjects like music and politics to make up for it. My apprenticeship focuses on that and that’s exactly what I wanted to do.”
There is no regret for Sihon that he did not take the university route, and feels very content in his current role. “I’m happy here, I’m not in debt for one and I have got the experience behind me to show employers and hopefully I will be staying on here in a full-time role. From speaking to friends who have gone to university, it seems like they have all struggled to meet deadlines; it’s still hard in an apprenticeship, but I feel more comfortable than I ever would have studying a degree.”
Sihon was not confident speaking with people he didn’t know in the beginning; he saw it as a challenge. “I used to fear speaking to customers, because when you are in college and university, you’re speaking with people you already know. There are no unknown feelings, but when you get a phone call here, you don’t know who is going to be on the other line, but it’s something you get used to.” For Sihon, the programme has taught him more work experience than university could have done, because it’s a different learning process. “When it comes to paperwork, for example in school, you try to avoid it at all cost, whereas in work it’s an essential thing to do. I have to do it and get myself into gear, whereas in school there wasn’t much of a risk if I didn’t do my homework, it’s more of ‘oh I’ll catch up later’ but in work you have a deadline. My time keeping is a lot better now, as when it came down to going to sixth form, it was good to keep practice, but there would be no real punishment if you came in late; in the workplace you have the risk of losing your job which makes you work harder and makes you want it more.”
One of Sihon’s main interests in the programme is not having any two days the same. “I have been interested in computes for a very long time, but I never really went anywhere with it. I decided at 14 that it was what I wanted to do in my life. The tasks here are not very usual, people call in all the time and it’s different people with different requests, but I’m mostly working on software.”
The apprenticeship programme has made Sihon realise that IT is for him and can now see himself working in this industry in the future. “I definitely see myself working in IT. For the time being I’ll be focusing on my exams and trying to better myself and my CV for employers.”
Sihon’s employer Toby, is positive about the apprenticeship programme and things it’s a great opportunity for young adults to prepare themselves for the world of work. “I don’t regret taking on an apprentice for a second, it’s the smartest thing we have done in a long time. From a traditional business view, it makes sense. An apprentice is cheaper than a recruitment fee and on a very base level, but the advantage you have as an employer is to create the ideal employee at the end of the 12 months. We thought it was a good long term strategy. We take people on an entry basis and apprentices are a good pool of resources to do that with. Most people went into IT because they didn’t want to do exams, so it’s quite hard motivating staff to do them. Apprentices have been doing exams for years and whilst they are on the programme, they will still be doing them.
Apprentices are the ones now being fast tracked through the business, the flip side is that they are very young. It also brings energy to the company and when I started ten years ago, it was myself and my age peers back then which made the environment sparky, but everyone is older now, so it’s good to have the younger generation to keep that energy within the business and it’s important that we do too.”
Some employers can think that taking on an apprentice is a risk, but for Virtual IT employer Toby, he has a different opinion. “Brining on an apprentice has had no detrimental risk. They bring hunger, drive and enthusiasm. We pay very fair wages to the other guys that has been working here a little longer, but despite that, young keep apprentices come in and are more opportunistic and they have the ‘I’ll take that attitude. It forces others around to reassess their motivation. One apprentice on the team seemed like a novelty and now we have a team of ten who have been through the apprenticeship programme. We will take the apprentice and so will other employers as they are much more focused on where they want to be, which is great for us and we want to push ourselves.”
Kelly who used to be an Apprentice with Just IT, has now progressed from the programme and is now a Third Line Engineer. As a woman, Kelly had a point to make; the industry is not male dominated and women can make a great career out of it.
How did you first get in touch with Just IT?
I first got in touch with Just IT when I was doing some additional work experience at RBS in April 2012. There I met Sarah who worked for Just IT and she was visiting an Apprentice who had a work placement at RBS. She told me about an open evening which I attended weekly. I got assessed and got invited to do an IT Apprenticeship.
Why did you choose IT as your career?
I chose IT for my career because I always had a great interest in computers, my dad has worked in IT for all of his career and brought me up around technology such as playing games, and learning how to use them from a young age which had a strong influence on my career choice. I went on to do work experience at RBS which involved shadowing and assisting the Trade Floor Desktop Support team whilst I was in my last year of secondary school. I really enjoyed this and was invited back to do more experience the following April. I soon learnt that this is what I wanted to do as every day is different and new technologies are always being introduced. There are some great advantages of choosing IT for a career; you don’t need a degree because you can get well paid and learn about the latest technology.
Tell me what are your experiences of being a female in a male dominated industry
Being a female in IT can be a massive challenge at times, but rewarding. There have been incidents where I have been stereotyped by both males and female users with the ‘oh you’re a woman, you don’t know anything about IT so you won’t be able to fix my issue’ kind of attitude and be the target of sexism. The best thing to do is to take it on the chin, and don’t let it affect your work. It actually gives me the motivation to be the best I can when things like this happen. You are also always working in a team of mostly men. I do think that being female in a male dominated industry has its advantages as employers are looking for more women to employ into their IT teams, so you have a better chance of getting a job and progressing!
What does your current role consist of?
In my current role I am part of the 3rd Line Infrastructure team doing Infrastructure Support. This role consists of monitoring and supporting systems and services in all regions, identifying and resolving incidents. I coordinate out of hours’ changes for the IT department, ensuring updates are provided to management. I escalate to the Infrastructure Engineering team for any unresolved incidents and support service improvements between IT operations and other departments.
Day to day I provide operational support for existing infrastructure services and users of those services which involved identifying and executing service improvement activities, supporting project work, the development of new infrastructure and ensure appropriate services are monitored effectively.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years’ time, I would like to see myself on the Infrastructure ~Engineering team where I will be responsible for SAN storage and the VMWare server environment. I would aim to have my MSCE, MCSA, VMWare and many more certifications and then eventually I would like to get into management and manage the 3rd line team. My main goal is to get as technical as I can and then put that knowledge into management.
What is your advice for anyone considering a career in IT?
My advice would be to definitely consider it, every day is always different, there’s always a new challenge and it pays well! There is so many different paths you can take within the IT industry to whichever suits you.