Scottish Apprenticeship Week: Erin’s story

Pauline Brown
Tuesday 7 March 2017

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week, we wanted to take the opportunity to share some of the stories, thoughts and experiences of our current and former IT Apprentices (as we’re incredibly proud of them!).

Name: Erin Niven
Apprentice Role: Media Services (AV) Technician (Year 2)
Contract start:  July 2015
Contract end: July 2017

Erin and Greg at St Johns High School Careers Fair – talking to young people about careers in IT

Working at the University of St Andrews has confirmed to me what I was looking to do as a career. I was unsure of taking the apprenticeship route at first as I never thought I would be offered an opportunity quite like this…
I always assumed apprenticeships meant you would be treated poorly and not be given the same opportunity as everyone else – but taking the bullet and going ahead with the decision has changed my career path for the better.

I work in the AV/Media side of IT Services within the University.  I deal with queries and problems associated with learning and teaching technology. We look after all centrally bookable spaces and teaching rooms within the university, as well as dealing with the filming of important events which occur throughout the academic year, like official Opening Ceremonies and Graduation. I have been given the opportunity to learn how to manage, maintain and install AV equipment within rooms throughout the University. I have also been given the opportunity develop my  Project Management skills under the supervision of my colleagues, for recent AV upgrades. I have also been shown how to set up a camera and film with some editing and post production and have since then been involved in filming high profile events in the academic year.

Erin with some of her Media Services colleagues in St Mary’s Quad

From taking on my apprenticeship I feel I have gained more confidence in how I go about addressing situations, and more people skills from providing support at events and deal with staff and student queries. Before I felt I couldn’t do certain things because I was too scared something would go wrong or not quite right, but now I can walk into a job or event and know that if something does go wrong I have the knowledge and skills to address the problem, something I would never of known myself to be able to do before! I have been given many other opportunities too, and have been able to work within different teams of IT Services like the PC Clinic, IT Service Desk and work alongside our Desktop Technicians. I feel these opportunities have given me a variety of knowledge and experience within this busy environment.  Working here at the University of St Andrews has been brilliant and my colleagues are highly skilled and know exactly what they are doing. They have helped develop me as a person and provided me with amazing new skills, tips and tricks which I will always keep on practicing.

Looking further into my career I can see myself working up the ladder within the area of IT/AV, I would love to be in a managerial position.  Only now having this experience here do I think I could handle that, as it’s a role I could not picture myself doing before. I would love to help provide knowledge and experience to others, that I was so fortunate to receive previously. An apprenticeship is another route to further qualifications, it provides an additional option for young people other than college and university. I highly recommend choosing this route as your learning something new every day doing something that interests you. It helps develop younger people into more mature, focused individuals and provides access to a big developing industry.

Erin at Microsoft HQ in Edinburgh, where she and her colleagues picked up the award ‘Microsoft Apprentice Employer of the Year 2016’

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