DIGITAL SKILLS ARE MORE IN DEMAND THAN EVER BEFORE.
In the modern world of work, these skills cut across all sectors and are a near-universal requirement for employment. According to research from World Skills UK, employers are even beginning to regard basic digital skills as essential skills, alongside numeracy and literacy.
In response, more businesses are prioritising investing in this area. According to a recent poll of SMEs in England, more than two in five (43%) say they plan to invest in building digital skills within their company and a third (35%) will encourage staff to engage in current or free training resources – such as Skills Bootcamps.
Apprenticeships are a popular way to become more tech-savvy and enter the UK’s fast-growing digital sector. They are real jobs with training, ensuring apprentices get to earn while they learn, and get hands-on industry experience which will provide them with invaluable transferable skills (such as communication and teamwork), helping to lay a solid foundation for future career opportunities.
Amy Groves (28), now a DevOps Engineer at Lloyds Bank, undertook an apprenticeship in her late twenties. Her story shows how rewarding and life-changing these programmes can be, as Amy transitioned from a role in hospitality to solving problems in the tech industry.
Here, she shares her story and gives advice for others thinking about enrolling in an apprenticeship to get into the tech industry.
MY APPRENTICESHIP JOURNEY
After I left school, I took a job in the hospitality industry. Many of my classmates took the standard route of applying to university, but this didn’t appeal to me. I needed time to figure out what was best for me and what direction I wanted to take my life in.
A few years later, I decided to take a leap and applied for a temporary job within Lloyds Banking Group’s HR department. Whilst there I learnt so much about the business and really started to feel at home. When I discovered that the company offered IT apprenticeships, I read the job description. I wouldn’t say I had a passion for tech at the time, and I’ll admit the language in the ad went a bit over my head. However, the soft skills they were looking for – collaboration, communication and a willingness to learn – described me perfectly, so I eagerly applied, keen to explore and find out more.
I was so happy when I got the apprenticeship; it felt like a new start, and I could sense more exciting opportunities were to come.
It’s now been four years since I applied and it’s safe to say I’ve learned a lot– both about myself and the world of tech. In this time, I’m really proud to have completed the Level 3 IT Solutions Technician course and recently passed my Level 4 DevOps apprenticeship.
The progress I have seen in my career journey has shown me how much an apprenticeship can change your life. Every day I get the chance to learn something new in a sector that my 16-year-old self would never have guessed I would one day work in. From software creation and testing, to investigating infrastructure issues; my role is varied and provides me with lots of opportunities to grow.
It’s a really exciting time to be a woman working in tech. While we still make up just 26% of the IT industry, diversity and inclusion is on almost every employer’s radar and I’m proud to be a part of this change.
Furthermore, working in the tech industry, which is always accelerating and changing, you get to be on the forefront of many major developments. You’re also building a valuable bank of digital skills which will help increase your employability and open up future career opportunities in all kinds of industries. This all wouldn’t have been possible without my apprenticeship.
MY TIPS TO APPROACHING APPRENTICESHIPS:
Employers are looking for motivated applicants, who have a willingness to learn and gain strong transferrable skills. Here are some tips to consider when looking for and undertaking an apprenticeship:
- Explore what’s out there: Take the time to explore your different interests and find an apprenticeship opportunity that aligns with your passions, strengths and skills. Whether you love working with your hands, have a knack for technology, or are drawn to creative fields, there’s an apprenticeship out there for you.
- Make the most of the resources available to you: The Government’s Skills for Life website is a useful resource to base your research – it provides more information about apprenticeships, Skills Bootcamps, Higher Technical Qualifications and other training courses and qualifications you can pursue. It’s also a gateway to finding live training and apprenticeship opportunities. For instance, I am part of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network which is on hand to connect you with former/current apprentices and answer any questions you may have.
- Be proactive and curious: Approach your apprenticeship with a proactive and curious mindset. Ask questions, seek guidance, and take the initiative. Remember, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Embrace new challenges and be open to new experiences. Your enthusiasm and willingness to learn will set you apart.
- Build relationships and network: Networking is key to success in any field, and apprenticeships are no exception. Take the time to connect with professionals, mentors, and fellow apprentices. Attend industry events, engage in conversations and seek opportunities to build meaningful relationships. You never know where these connections might lead in the future.
Remember, an apprenticeship can be instrumental towards achieving your career goals.
Approach it with a positive attitude, a thirst for knowledge, and a genuine desire to succeed, and no doubt you’ll flourish wherever you are.