From Private School to an apprenticeship, I am now a qualified IT Professional

IT Technician, former IT Apprentice, level 3

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

I attended a private school that excels at sports and academic subjects such as Latin and Ancient Greek, with little, in fact no focus on the modern skills required in a technological world. I felt that the some of the subjects taught were not right for me. My school was very focussed on pushing its students into university, which I knew wasn’t right for me, although academically bright. I had always had an interest in technology and this was a route I wanted to pursue, so I decided not to stay on in sixth form and went onto study a Diploma in IT at College, this route also didn’t fit because I still felt like I was back at school – what was I to do?

During my time at college and by chance, I came across apprenticeships which provoked my interest, I didn’t know too much about apprenticeships, but decided to explore this avenue further and I found QA an apprenticeship training provider and contacted them. I never looked back...

The process was relatively simple, applying online with a copy of my CV and a skype interview, QA did a lot of the work finding roles and putting me forward for interview. It did take me about 18 months to find the right apprenticeship for me, the first two interviews I had, I wasn’t successful – with hindsight I know I didn’t give it 100%. I instantly knew during both interviews that the organisations I had applied to were possibly not right for me and at the time my only concern was getting a job, any job, but they did give me valuable interview experience.

The third interview was a success, working for BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT as an IT apprentice at level 3. I have never looked back, and love my job. I knew it was right for me when they invited me to meet the team, who consisted of a wide range of ages, experience and personalities but more importantly they were like-minded people, a team I could see myself fitting into. Gaining this job made me realised that although it took 18 months, this was the perfect one for me.

On my first day in the job I turned up in a suit to make an impression, the office has a much more laid back approach to what you wear, I certainly stood out, the suit now comes out on special occasions. The work experience gained as an apprentice has been incomparable to that of the training.

Working for and with the team, I have just learnt so much from my peers and even more through the implementation of tasks I had been assigned to and the people I engage daily at all levels.

‘After 12 months, my apprenticeship came to an end and even better I was taken on as an IT Support Technician. Now on my pathway as an IT Professional, I will continue my development through gaining industry professional certification in the specialisms aligned to achieving my dream job as a Specialist IT Contractor.’

My Top Tips for interview success

  • Just be yourself, be personable and show an interest in the role
  • You don’t need to have experience; this will be taught – I worked part-time in a shop fixing hardware this helped showcase my interest in IT – share similar examples even if you have a hobby
  • The interviewer is looking for a personality that will fit into the team
  • Ask to meet the team before you commit, this will give you some insight into the people and organisation you will be working with, and you will know if it is the right fit for you
  • Persevere, if you are not successful first time, don’t give up, my job at BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT made me realise the importance of holding out for the right job

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