This month we interview Ian Branch, who completed his IT Practitioner apprenticeship with ITEC in 2001 followed by further training as an adult learner in 2003, when he completed a Microsoft course.
What were your thoughts and plans about your future career when you were coming up to leaving school?
At the age of 15 I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Throughout my life I had always shown an interest in computers, whether it be computer games or upgrading and fixing my personal computer, so I knew what I enjoyed doing and I was good at it too, so this seemed the right path for me.
When you left school, why did you choose an apprenticeship over 6th Form, college or university?
I chose an apprenticeship because it gave me the opportunity to work in the real world as well as studying for qualifications. I’m not one for sitting in classrooms day after day so this seemed like the better option for me.
What do you feel you gained from your apprenticeship that you would not have got at school, college or university?
I believe the balance between learning and working was great for me. If I was sitting in a classroom for most of the time, my mind would wander and I would get bored. Doing the qualification in the workplace and having hands on experience, as well as getting to meet people working in the same field, was invaluable to me.
What was it like working for your employer? What did your job entail?
I had the opportunity to work for 3 different employers. One was a CCTV company, the other was a school and the final one was a custom computer workshop. It was great experience working for all the employers. The jobs were not as highly demanding as they would become in the future because I was working alongside someone or was fully supervised. When working for the school I would help the IT Manager maintain the network for the school and fix numerous problems. There was always something different to do most days.
What skills and knowledge have you gained through your apprenticeship?
I think the skills I picked up while out in the workplace were invaluable and prepared me for the real world of work. I got the opportunity to work with other people and they shared their IT knowledge with me, which is very important.
What are you doing now?
I have continued in IT and I am working for PMS International in Basildon on Second Line Support.
What contribution has your apprenticeship made to where you are now in your career?
Without my apprenticeship and ITEC I wouldn’t be where I am today. I hadn’t heard of ITEC until someone told me about it. Since that time I have never looked back! My advice today to young people wanting a career in IT is to go to ITEC, it’s the best place for you and the best start to your career path!