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Meet the Apprentices Starting Out in Tech

Paul Bryce

CCO at Node4

Shut out the stigma around apprenticeships for a moment.

Apprenticeships in the IT and tech industry? They don’t always require you to be a “technical” person.

While at Node4, we welcome the more technically gifted, we’re also looking for people ready to get stuck into this forward-thinking and creative industry. That means people for our service delivery, provisioning and marketing departments, as well as our technical teams.

Sound exciting? Don’t take our word for it – take our apprentices’, as they describe their experiences working at Node4:

Heather Cooper, Service Delivery Apprentice

Why did you take the apprenticeship route?

I didn’t find full-time education very rewarding. The mainstream learning methods, the theory then taking exams bored me, and I struggled to find a college or university course that I wanted to invest my time into.

With apprenticeships being mainly practical, I knew that this would be the most beneficial route for me. I get a qualification, earn a living and feel like my effort is going somewhere worthwhile.

 

What does your role involve and how has it developed?

When I first started, I supported Service Delivery Managers with ad-hoc tasks and a few different kinds of reports that they would provide to their customers.

Around nine months in, it was clear I had become much more confident within my role. So I was given my own customer to manage, using the training I’d received to maintain a high-level customer service.

 

What support have you received while working remotely?

I have felt well supported from home during the pandemic. In the beginning, we had daily team video calls, and I had a weekly one-to-one with my line manager to address any concerns, check how I was getting on with my work and manage any feelings around being isolated at home.

Over time, these have become less frequent, as I’ve become more comfortable with remote working. Now I feel like I can just get on with my job at home and go to my line manager whenever I need support.

 

What’s been the highlight of your apprenticeship?

The first time I ran a virtual customer service review by myself. I had previously run two monthly calls with the support of my line manager. However, for this one he had to be available for another customer.

I was very nervous before the call, but I felt really pleased with myself for giving it a go (and now I know I can do it alone if I have to).

It gave me a lot of confidence in myself as when I first started, I couldn’t imagine even speaking on a call – let alone running it myself without someone there to catch me if I tripped up.

 

What’s been the biggest challenge?

Using self-discipline to learn and complete assignments for the theory side of my Business Administration Apprenticeship. I’ve always been a practical learner and in the past have had teachers or tutors to keep me on task.

I am not in school now, so my education has been in my own hands. It was up to me to find the time and put in the effort to complete the necessary work towards my qualification. I think it’s taught me a lot about prioritisation and how to approach tasks that I might usually consider boring.

 

Top tip for those interested in an apprenticeship: Don’t try too hard to find the “perfect” apprenticeship for you; look into areas of work that you might not have considered before.

There’s always the option to pursue a different apprenticeship path whenever you’ve finished the current one – and that time spent isn’t a waste, as you’re able to earn money and get a qualification alongside it.

I went from two years of training to become a hairdresser to a Service Delivery Apprentice for an IT infrastructure and services business - which I would consider quite a U-turn!

 

Interested in an apprenticeship at Node4?

Take a look at current vacancies on our careers page.

 

CareeriMac

Click here

 

 

Rohan Challand, Tech Support Apprentice

Why did you take the apprenticeship route?

I wanted to get a few more grades under my belt to take on my journey throughout the working world.

 

What does your role involve and how has it developed?

As a Tech Support Apprentice, I help the engineers with office work. For example, if an engineer wants to work on a router, I find it, upgrade its firmware, plug it in, update the necessary platforms and keep it safe until I send it out to the customer.

At the start of my journey, I was manually importing orders into our work management application and writing business intelligence reports. Now this has been automated, I’m taking ownership of a project called the NPT queue where I’m overseeing the location of routers and necessary updates.

 

What support have you received while working remotely?

When the Covid-19 pandemic got serious and Node4 told me to work from home, I was worried I wouldn’t have the right support and tools that I needed to be able to work to my full capacity.

However, Node4 supplied me with everything I needed: a monitor, mouse, keyboard and access to applications with ease.

I’ve also received plenty of support for my wellbeing. Things like team quizzes and informal meetings helped me to maintain that all-important human interaction!

 

What’s been the highlight of your apprenticeship?

Having as many opportunities as other members of staff and taking on an equal level of responsibility for critical work. I’m never treated as if I don’t know anything or looked down on.

 

What’s been your biggest challenge?

Taking ownership of the NPT queue project was a challenge. At first, it involved working with multiple spreadsheets and applications and ensuring that information across all these platforms was updated accurately.

As a project team, we’ve since put our heads together and simplified the process to using just one application and spreadsheet, which has made it a lot easier to manage.

 

Top tip for those interested in an apprenticeship: When you’re starting out in your apprenticeship, explore the business as much as possible and find out more about your options.

Instead of pointing me in a certain direction, Node4 has opened a lot of doors for me to explore. By looking into different departments and what they do, not only have I developed a solid understanding of the business, but I’ve found the direction I’d like to go in.

 

Flynn Forster, Digital Marketing Assistant

Why did you take the apprenticeship route?

I knew I wanted to go down the digital marketing career path and had my heart set on going into the tech industry, so an apprenticeship seemed like a logical step for me.

 

What is your role and how has it developed?

Digital Marketing Assistant. This means I contribute to the digital/marketing team to help generate interest for the business, whether that’s enquiries from prospects or creating content for current customers to enjoy.

I have become more and more hands-on since being an apprentice, meaning I’m now much more confident in my abilities to assist the marketing team and the wider business.

 

What support have you received while working remotely?

The support while working from home has been great. Node4 has introduced many initiatives to help boost morale. Also, our meetings have become more regular to make sure everyone still feels connected to their teams. I feel incredibly lucky to be working within a business with such an amazing culture.

 

What’s been the highlight of your apprenticeship?

It’s hard to choose! During my time with Node4, I’ve worked on a number of campaigns, with the support of such a great team.

One of my earliest (and most memorable projects) was actually on National Apprenticeship Week. This was a brand awareness campaign, intended to promote apprenticeships with Node4.

I planned out the campaign with different elements such as blogs and social content, driving traffic towards our careers page. This was very successful and something I look back on and feel proud of doing.

 

What’s been the biggest challenge?

I haven’t had any huge challenges, as my team are beyond supportive with anything and everything! But something I could say was the initial change from office life to working from home, although Node4 provided so much support.

Also, when I was an apprentice, I was a little worried about my progression. However, the hard work paid off as I have now been promoted to a Digital Marketing Assistant.

 

Top tip for those interested in an apprenticeship: Get fully involved and make the most of it, even if it means doing your own research outside of work time.

I was lucky enough to find myself within a business where I had an incredibly supportive team. However, I still had to put in the hard work and make myself known within different areas of the business, so I could learn and develop.

 

AshleighSpencer

Ashleigh Spencer, Business Admin Apprentice

Why did you take the apprenticeship route?

When I saw the job advert for Node4, it was something I was interested in. I wasn’t looking for an apprenticeship in particular; I liked the sound of what was being offered and believed I could do it.

More importantly, when I interviewed at Node4, I wanted nothing more but to work for the company as I saw what a lovely place it was.

 

What is your role and how has it developed?

I work in the provisioning team and help with the purchasing side of things. I have only been here a short time, but I learn every day and am becoming more capable of doing things independently.

I have developed massively over the course of my apprenticeship, and I know that not only will I continue to learn during my apprenticeship period, but onwards within the business after that.

 

What support have you had while working remotely?

Times are difficult at the minute and it’s been very unusual to start working without physically being in the offices to learn. Whilst that may have slowed my learning down slightly, it hasn’t restricted me in any way.

I have regular team meetings and one-to-ones, where screens can be shared, so I can see what is happening and how to do things. I’ve found each and every member of the business is always happy to help in any way that they can, which for me is that biggest support any company could give.

 

What has been the highlight of your apprenticeship so far?

The culture of the company, where every member of the business is willing to help one another, whether they know each other or not. It’s the kind of culture that every business should have, but doesn’t.

 

What has been your biggest challenge?

Working remotely. I was daunted by the idea of going into a new business and not being in a normal working environment. However, as I’ve mentioned, there were many things in place to support me on my journey.

 

Top tip for those interested in an apprenticeship: Be open-minded. When I left school, I felt this stigma around apprenticeships; maybe that is why I went to college. If I had been more open-minded, I would have done an apprenticeship sooner.

 

Jamie Woods, Apprentice Support Engineer

Why did you take the apprenticeship route?

I didn’t want to go to uni, as I wanted more freedom with my money while improving my education. An apprenticeship allowed me to do that.

 

What is your role and how has it developed?

I started as a Collaboration Apprentice where I would just help whoever needed me in our dedicated collaboration business unit N4Engage. I am now a Support Engineer Apprentice, where I mainly deal with new and leaving users for all hosted customers and Node4.

 

What support have you received while working remotely?

We have meetings every week. I can message/ring anyone from the team and they are always happy to help. Fortunately, I was able to get back to working in the office through the summer, when restrictions eased.

 

What’s been the highlight of your apprenticeship?

I recently joined the project team at a customer site where we deployed a new phone. This was my first time going to site and was a great learning experience, as well as a nice opportunity to work with the team.

On the social side, it has to be Pancake Day 2020. It was a few weeks after I joined, and being given lots of free pancakes was a great experience!

 

What’s been the biggest challenge?

Mapping my job role to apprenticeship project work can be tricky. I have a very specific role and responsibilities, and sometimes I need to think outside the box in terms of how I’m going to fulfil the project criteria.

 

Top tip for those interested in an apprenticeship: Apply for it and be open to different opportunities. That way, you have more options and can choose the best path for you.

 

Interested in an apprenticeship at Node4?

Take a look at current vacancies on our careers page.

 

CareeriMac

Click here