This month we interview Camilla Hards, who completed a IT User apprenticeship with ITEC.
What were your thoughts and plans about your future career when you were coming up to leaving school?
I knew after school I wanted to study at college however after college I was a little lost. I no longer wanted to study at university - I wanted hands-on experience, but having no experience at this point I found it very tough!
When you left school, why did you choose an apprenticeship over 6th Form, college or university?
Having gone to college (studying Art and Design) I wanted to go in to a creative job. Unfortunately the creative industry is a competitive industry and required me to gain more experience. So instead of going to university, I felt that doing an apprenticeship would be the best way forward. I would earn money, gain experience on my CV as well as gain qualifications, again adding to my skills.
What do you feel you gained from your apprenticeship that you would not have got at school, college or university?
I gained invaluable and irreplaceable hands-on experience in the working world. Because I was learning at the same time, I didn't feel pressured and I didn't feel stressed even when I made mistakes (as everyone does!).
What was it like working for your employer? What did your job entail?
I worked for a photographic studio, Nicol's Photography Studio, with Nicola (the studio owner). She was a fabulous mentor and teacher and a great person. I had the best two years working for her, the work didn't feel like a job at all. I was a photographer’s assistant at this time, doing admin tasks, photo-editing, manipulation, data entry and eventually taking bookings and shoots.
What skills and knowledge have you gained through your apprenticeship?
I gained an in depth knowledge of IT, photography and customer service. The apprenticeship gave me more confidence in the industry and with customers.
What are you doing now?
I am currently a freelance photographer working for myself and contracting with other companies.
What contribution has your apprenticeship made to where you are now in your career?
Without the apprenticeship I wouldn't be where I am today! I wouldn't have the skills or the confidence to shoot weddings, portraits and events and I wouldn't have the knowledge to do the admin and IT work it entails. It was the best decision I ever made and gave me an incredible start to my working life.