Lisa: IT Apprentice on Level 4 DevOps.

Published : Tue 24th Jan

Lisa came to the Trust straight from school as she wanted to learn in a more practical way and the apprenticeship has given her the opportunity to learn the way she feels suits her best and it has been great to see her confidence grow.

Why did you first choose to apply for an apprenticeship?

I chose to apply for an apprenticeship because going to university was never something that had particularly interested me. I’m not motivated around studying in the right way to get through university successfully (I tended to leave all my studying/revision until the last minute) and I have never particularly been interested in the ‘university experience’ of loud parties and nights out drinking. I also have a much more practical and hand on style of learning approach and I worried that university would be more lecture and theory based than the practical, up to date, experience and learning I could experience on an apprenticeship. I’ve been able to develop my skills in communication within a business environment as I learn, something that I expected to struggle with as my interpersonal skills haven’t ever been the best.

Best thing about the apprenticeship?

I’ve made some really great friends with the other IT apprentices which has allowed me to still have enjoyable experiences with people with similar interests to me. I enjoy the great outdoors and seeing live shows, so being able to earn money to put towards trips to go to new places to do interesting things and seeing both theatre shows and live music (rather than paying debts like my friends at uni) has been a real positive.

In terms of the working environment it’s been really good to get to network with real professionals and learn from them as well as making friends within the office. The people at National Trust are all really friendly and you’ll find after a while you’ll struggle to get round the office without someone stopping to say hi and have a quick catch up!

Any challenges?

I think all education contains challenges in different ways. I wouldn’t say any of my experiences of challenges in my apprenticeship have been inherently bad, though some have been interesting to say the least. One of my roles in my team is working with the servers and making sure they’re all running as intended as well as deploying new software to them. Every now and then I’ve come across one stubborn software that just doesn’t want to work, but I’ve always been able to ask my team for help and advice with how to go about resolving the issue.

At points it felt like a bit of a struggle juggling my learning tasks for the apprenticeship with the work coming in from my team, but my team were always good and would divide work between them or put tasks on hold when they were less urgent so I could be involved when the learning was more under control again.

Have you done anything that you didn’t expect whilst on your apprenticeship?

I definitely didn’t expect to be so hands on with systems as I have been. I thought I was going to be given a sandbox to practice and learn on, but I’ve been able to work with real databases that are used by National Trust and utilize lower-level IT environments on my own as well as take a part in production releases. I’ve had more freedom with trying out my ideas and testing my skills than I’d expected or than I’d had doing Computing A level.

How have the training provider/college supported you?

My training provider has supported me by running residential courses for me to attend and study at. These are intense but have really helped to boost my skills and knowledge quickly. It has also been good to network with DevOps apprentices from other companies around the UK and get to know them during the courses, as many of us are the only DevOps apprentice in our place of work, and the majority of us were all around the same age so it was nice to find I wasn’t the only ‘youngster’. I had a mentor I was in contact with from my apprenticeship provider and they have helped me ensure I understand the aspects of my apprenticeship, including lately telling me about each element of my End Point Assessment and help with what to expect from the assessment methods. When I was still in the main program of learning they would also ensure I was keeping up with my learning and maintaining a healthy balance between work and life, as well as making sure I was fully prepped ready for courses.

What are your plans for the future?

In terms of career progression I’m hopeful that when my End Point Assessment comes to an end later this year I will be able to stay on in National Trust in a role within my team. I’m hopeful moving into a non-apprenticeship role will allow me to further learn about the world of IT and all the systems that we use so that I can progress my career within the National Trust.

Any advice for anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship?

I would say 100% go for it. It’s a really great experience and even if you find that the career you’ve studied in isn’t the one for you at least you have real world experience of a job that you can put on your CV. There are definitely benefits to apprenticeships you don’t see in other pathways, especially given some apprenticeship pathways give you chance to qualify in additional certifications (i.e mine gave me chance to study for several recognized IT certifications) and having the annual leave so you don’t have to just do things you like in school/university holidays!