Ren finished an apprenticeship with us in 2023 before becoming an IT Support Technician. Since then, Ren has moved on to work in the NHS. But before she left, she wanted to let us know what she learnt from her experiences. Thanks Ren, and good luck with your future!
Thinking about doing an apprenticeship? I’ve recently completed my apprenticeship as a Digital Support Technician (Level 3) and passed with a distinction. Let me tell you a bit about how I got here.
In 2020 I thought about going to uni. But I was put off by the fact I would have to be working part-time to stay afloat. That, on top of schoolwork and making the most of uni life. I definitely wasn’t in a situation to commit to studying wholeheartedly. I’d also managed to be debt-free so far. So, having student loans felt like taking a huge step backwards to me.
In the end, I wasn’t excited about going to uni. It was important to me that I felt completely confident in my decision. Otherwise, I couldn’t commit to it fully. All of this pushed me to take a look at apprenticeships.
Are apprenticeships useful?
To be honest, I hadn’t considered them at all before. At school I was actively dissuaded from considering an apprenticeship and was told it was not employable. Especially in STEM. That turned out to be outdated and the majority of IT people I’ve met have come from non-linear career paths.
I had a lot of questions though. Some of those were?
- Was this worth my time?
- Would I be in a dreaded classroom?
- Is this academic enough to be challenging?
- Will it even be relevant by the time I complete it?
There weren’t a lot of resources, like video reviews or coursework examples for my course so I was sceptical. On paper it offered me everything I wanted. It had the certificate, industry placement, academic development at my own level and it even paid me to do the course! That last point was probably the tipping point. I decided to go for it and I was actually excited.
Fast forward two years, I have completed my apprenticeship and am now employed as an IT Support Technician. The YOU Trust staff are supportive and made my time as an apprentice productive, which contributed to my success.
I’ve gained a lot of professional experience in IT. I’ve dealt with everything from P1 outages to remote maintenance of devices in other countries. No matter what happens, I feel like I’ve developed the composure and skills to deal with it.
As an apprentice, you have work responsibilities. You are expected to meet industry standards and be aware of all the moving parts around that. On top of that, you have academic responsibilities. For me, the flexible hours for studying and being able to study on my own with guided remote sessions were the perfect combo.
My tutors really allowed me to push myself. They understood my coursework, constructively challenged it and helped me reach a higher academic standard. This allowed me to develop my knowledge even beyond the limits of the qualification. My colleagues have also been instrumental in teaching me things about IT, life and everything else.
If there’s anything I would change, it would be that apprenticeships still feel a bit confusing from the outside. For my course, the only information available were glossy leaflets direct from training providers, who obviously held some bias. There was nothing detailing the aspects of an IT apprenticeship from a student’s perspective for my course at all. Here’s hoping this blog post will help contribute to resolving that issue! *
If you’re looking for more info on apprenticeships, the definitive place to research is the Institute for Apprenticeships website. They have pages dedicated to each course with the key contents, syllabus and marking scheme with clear objectives on what you’ll need to know about.
* Ren was the first person to undertake this apprenticeship and her feedback has been invaluable. We value comments from everyone who undertake apprenticeships and their first-hand knowledge informs us going forward.