Why You Should Talk To The National Careers Service

When he left school Stewart Hunwick was unsure of what to do, so he turned to the National Careers Service who helped him get a foot on the career ladder.

Age:24

Education:GCSE: 6 A’s, 2 B’s and 2 C’s.A levels: 2 C’s and one B.Various qualifications in my current role, predominantly technical HP qualifications.

Where are you based?Staffordshire, West Midlands

What sort of things does your role involve? I work for HP, the largest IT company in the world. My role is to be the technical advisor to the customers and potential new customers.I have to present our products to them and then design a solution that best-fits their needs. I also have to deliver live demonstrations of the products and be able to explain technical concepts to all different levels of customers.

It’s a lot of responsibility as often these presentations are for customers at a really senior level but I love the process of presenting and the feeling of being in front of a customer. It keeps me on my toes as I never know what I’ll be asked next.I also get to go abroad to technical events which are great. They are great weeks and are always hosted in a fantastic city, the last one was Frankfurt. These trips are not only invaluable to my career but are a lot of fun and allow me make some great connections with colleagues.

My least favourite part is probably the long hours; early starts and late nights. But these are my choice as I like putting the work in to see the results.

How did you get to this position? After school I was unsure of what I wanted to do as a career so I worked with the National Careers Service who suggested I look in to Apprenticeships.I had never thought of working in IT but they considered my interests and we figured it would be a great fit for someone like me.The application process was long and difficult; there were a number of online tests covering literacy, numeracy, teamwork and leadership. The NCS helped to prepare for these and allowed me put in the best application possible.

There was then an assessment day which was really daunting. My adviser was great in helping me to prepare for this my staging mock interviews before the real thing.There was a lot of competition but I managed to secure an apprentice position with EDS straight after leaving school. They didn’t want qualifications or extensive knowledge, just someone who was eager to learn and willing to put in the work.Since then I’ve moved up within the company, talking to higher level customers about larger deals and clarified that IT is definitely the business for me.

What do you wish someone had told you before you started out?It’s easier than you think! I was terrified before my first day, that I wouldn’t know enough and I would fail. It’s remarkable how much help is there on offer for you, and I quickly noticed they didn’t want an expert, just someone willing to learn. I’d also say try not to be too intimidated, they don’t expect the earth from you and expect you to ask questions and need help sometimes; it’s all part of the learning process. Ultimately, I wish someone had told me to be confident in my own ability and remember to have fun!

Why did you choose this path?I didn’t choose it myself! I was really unsure of the future whilst at school and that’s why I turned to the National Careers Service. The advisor pointed me in the direction of Apprenticeships, and helped explain the process for me. They even pointed me toward IT, as I was certain a career in physics was what I wanted. They were able to see it would be a great career for someone like me, and helped me understand it wasn’t a lesser path to uni, just a different one.

What have been the biggest challenges so far?Some of the larger deals I work on take up a lot of my time and can be quite stressful. I often work late but I don’t mind as I enjoy my job and it’s always worth it for the long term achievements!

Where would you like to be in five years’ time?There’s lots of potential for me to continue advancing my career with HP so I’d like to still be with them but to keep progressing within my current role and become a more senior engineer.

The National Careers Service supports, encourages and inspires people at every stage of their working life, providing the right tools and advising on the right steps to take at the right time. Through online tools, web chats, telephone and face-to-face advice, they help people to improve their job prospects and take control of their careers and working lives. Search online for ‘National Careers Service’ or call freephone 0800 100 900.

BTEC Level 1 Diploma in Health and Social Care
BTEC Introductory Diploma in I.T. at Work
Certificate in Creative Media Production - Foundation Learning

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