How an Apprenticeship Kick Started My Career
Imagine it - you're 15 years old you've just completed your GSCEs. All around you your friends are all making massive decisions: Should I go to sixth form? What about college? What University will I go to?
What about an Apprenticeship?
As soon as I was told about apprenticeships, I knew it was right for me. I'm being paid to learn - what's not to like? Unfortunately, my school wasn’t much help. The careers advice they gave me was to not do an apprenticeship, because ‘I'll only be limiting my options in life’. Having successfully completed my apprenticeship, I can say I totally disagree!
Applying for an apprenticeship is easy. They have a whole website just for apprentice applicants. It has 1000s of apprenticeship vacancies updated daily and allows you to search by occupation/field,. location or training provider.
"The Right Place for Me"
My story, however, is a little different. I've been interested in technology from a very young age. I made my first ever website when I was just 10 years old and I've loved all things web ever since. I knew exactly what field of IT I wanted to work in and searched for local web design businesses in Sheffield. Evoluted was the top result.
Their website was amazing. I remember looking at school and seeing they had a games room with an Xbox and pool table - not to mention the endless cake and treats on their Facebook page. I knew this was the right place for me. As a business, it was perfect for developing the skills I needed.
I wrote my first ever covering letter and CV and decided to post it off - old school, right? (Who sends letters these days?) My friends all thought I was crazy, leaving school for an apprenticeship at Evoluted. They thought I'd never get the apprenticeship and for a while, so did I.
"I Knew I Was Going to Love This Place"
About a week later, one afternoon I was sat in my maths class and my phone buzzed. Cheekily, I got my phone out. I was so happy I actually shouted! I'd only been invited for an interview with Ash and Gareth. I was told the interview would be informal, but never let that fool you - if you are applying for a job you always need to look professional.
I was incredibly lucky to start off my career with just one Google search. Evoluted was the first and only place I've ever applied for.
I remember being so nervous on my first day at work. As soon as I walked in everyone was staring at me - it was quite daunting. All the staff were very friendly and incredibly helpful. Within half an hour I knew I was was going to love this place.
I didn’t know much about web development to start with but no one minded helping me out with any questions that I had. Learning on the job really helped me to develop the skills I needed quickly and to this day I still remember the tips I was given on my first day.
"Learning In An Environment You Enjoy"
Everyone at Evoluted definitely knows how to work hard and have fun. Being the newbie there were a lot of hilarious pranks. I'd never tasted Wasabi before so someone challenged me to eat an entire spoon of it - I instantly regretted it my mouth was on fire! I don’t think I will ever live that down.
I believe working and learning in an environment you enjoy helps you develop your skills so much more than compared to a school environment.
There were a few challenges during my apprenticeship. It was a very steep learning curve and there was a lot to take in but there was always help all around me. I did my training with QA Apprenticeship. They have locations all over the country and my course was based in Stockport.
This was very different to the school environment and everyone was treated like adults. Our class was made up of all sorts of people and some knew a lot more than others did. Initially, this was quite unnerving at times but they support you regardless of your prior knowledge. No-one is left behind in class.
"An Amazing Way to Get On the Career Ladder"
We also had monthly visits to our work place from a QA Assessor for our coursework. Juggling both work and coursework deadlines was sometimes challenging but never too demanding.
Getting an apprenticeship is an amazing way to get on the career ladder and I will be forever grateful to Evoluted for giving me this amazing opportunity. I was thrown in straight at the deep end, making sites for clients on my first day and I’ve grown into my role ever since.
Each day was a chance to learn something new. Even now, one year after I successfully completed my QA apprenticeship*, I’m still picking up valuable skills that will last me a lifetime.
*This was gained with a Level 3 Certificate in IT Systems and Principles, a Level 3 Diploma in IT Professional Competence and an MTA in Software Development Fundamentals – making me a Microsoft certified professional.