Scottish Apprenticeship Week: Former IT Apprentices

Pauline Brown
Thursday 9 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!).

Since 2012 we’ve taken on 15 IT Apprentices, each one on a two year contract. We’re delighted that every one so far has secured a permanent role in the IT industry at the end of their apprenticeship. A few of our apprentices secured a full time position with us and reflect on their apprenticeship experience.

Peter Woodbridge – Apprentice Web Developer from 2012-14 (now Web Developer, Digital Communications):

Peter Woodbridge, currently working for the Digital Communications team

While at High School I was very unsure as to what I would do after I finished 6th year. I didn’t like the idea of at least four more years of studying, so an apprenticeship suited me perfectly. I was able to earn money but also start a career. I now work in the Corporate Communications department as a web developer.  After finishing my apprenticeship with IT Services a vacancy in the web team came up, which  I was kept on as a permanent member of staff.

My job varies between general web support and new web developments for the University. I enjoy helping people and it’s very satisfying to see a website you’ve worked on go live and public. Any young person unsure as to whether further education is for them should seriously consider an IT apprenticeship, not only are you earning a salary but you are gaining valuable qualifications and important work experience.

Steven Gonzalez – Apprentice Desktop Technician from 2012-14 (now Desktop Technician):

Steven Gonzalez, currently working for IT Services

I felt the apprenticeship route was right for me as it allows you to learn, without getting in to a large amount of debt! Apprenticeships actually accommodate the opposite – you earn money while gaining a qualification and very valuable experience. This is vital, as the majority of employers are keen that you have work experience too. Also with an apprenticeship you are learning skills that you can put in to practice in a live environment, which I think, re-enforces what you have learned.

I am in a technician’s role and enjoy the variety of different jobs we have to complete. This month I am gaining experience in a slightly different role that includes application packaging, SCCM configuration, managing Active Directory and group policy among many other tasks that are all new to me. I started my apprenticeship in September 2012 and was able to get a permanent post with the organisation I did my apprenticeship with and I am still learning new things every day. I hope to progress to a role similar to the role I am in this month in the future.

If I was to give one piece of advice to someone considering an IT apprenticeship I would say just go for it! You will earn some money while gaining a valuable qualification and practical, relevant experience.

Sam Foster, IT Service Desk Apprentice Analyst from 2012-14 (now IT Service Desk Analyst):

Sam Foster won the Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award in 2014

The apprenticeship route was the perfect choice for me. Upon leaving school, I considered all of my options and learning, working and earning at the same time appealed to me the most. It provided me with a structured, working and learning environment where I could grow both personally and professionally.

My IT apprenticeship at the University of St Andrews allowed me to quickly start my career, and learn transferable skills which I will continue to use throughout my career. In the current market, there is no better way to get into the IT Industry.

Since completely my apprenticeship, I have worked within the IT Service Desk as a full-time analyst. This role involves assisting our staff and students with their IT problems. This is an extremely rewarding role which involves regular communication with many different people, an aspect I particularly enjoy.

The IT Service Desk has given me the perfect opportunity to continue developing and honing my skills across many different IT-related topics. I have been given the opportunity to develop myself in areas that interest me –  IT security. Over the past twelve months, I have successfully attained a Diploma in Information Security. I hope to use this to progress into an IT security related role in the near future.

If anyone is interested in a career in IT,  I advise them to seriously consider an IT Apprenticeship. My IT Apprenticeship equipped me with the skills and knowledge required to work within a highly-skilled team. I have also gained industry recognised qualifications, and invaluable experience – all while earning money.

It has given me the perfect start in the IT industry, and I see it as a springboard to further success.

Dhani McDiarmid, Apprentice Desktop Technician from 2013-15 (now Desktop Technician):

Dhani McDiarmid won the BCS Most Promising Young IT Professional award in 2015

As I was finishing my last year of school, I was not entirely sure if university or college was the right path for me.  To try to find an alternative path – I looked in to apprenticeships, finding one suitable to my skills. After the interview process at St Andrews, I was offered the position of “Desktop Technician Apprentice”. My apprenticeship allowed me to earn a wage and gain similar qualifications, as to the one I planned to study in further education.  Another benefit of the apprenticeship programme – is that it has allowed me to develop my confidence and mature into a young IT professional.

Working at the University is enjoyable and educational because it is a diverse and dynamic environment. Working with staff and students to help provide and support IT is very rewarding and the large scope of IT operations within the University provides many interesting challenges. Fortunately, I have many knowledgeable and supportive colleagues who are more than happy to share their skills and experience with me.  My job role allows me to get out and meet colleagues in all the Schools and Units. I am currently trying to gain more work experience before aiming to earn a degree in a relevant subject. This will then allow me to aim higher, towards a managerial position.

An apprenticeship allows young people to have a great kick-start to their career. Not only do you learn and earn qualifications, you most importantly gain work experience.  Apprenticeships allow young people to develop and train into young professionals under the influence of experienced staff members in their field.

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