National Apprenticeship Week 2020 – Nathan Lee
Today sees the start of National Apprenticeship Week and there are almost 400 events celebrating apprenticeships around England. These include: open days, award presentations and engagements with schools and colleges.
I started my career in 1973 as a Post Office Telecommunications Apprenticeship and I have always been passionate about apprenticeships. Apprenticeships provide immense value to both the business and the apprentice. I speak from experience as we have helped many apprentices launch their careers at Astro over the years. Rather than talk about my views on apprenticeships I thought it only right to ask one of our apprentices to provide his account of his apprenticeship at Astro, which we run in partnership with the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (https://www.itpapprenticeships.org). So, I will now hand you over to my colleague Nathan Lee.
“I have always been an incredibly ambitious individual. I couldn’t imagine a future that didn’t involve myself having a successful career, however, I had no idea how I would take the first steps toward my end goal of a happy and successful working life. I left school and decided that I would begin studying History, Sociology and Law with the aim of eventually going to university. I quickly realised that I was not well suited to ‘A’ levels and probably wouldn’t do very well at university. I got very little satisfaction from my courses and began to struggle motivating myself as I felt as if very little of what I had learnt could actually be applied. I decided to drop my ‘A’ levels and enroll to study for Engineering Level 3.
After leaving college I began working, I tried my hand at a variety of positions including an office assistant, till cashier and betting shop manager. Feeling unfulfilled and unchallenged my hope of a successful career seemed unachievable. A close friend of mine had recently secured an apprenticeship, he explained how he was learning how to apply a trade whilst continuing to study with the support of his work place.
The advertised position at Astro Communications seemed like a perfect opportunity to apply what I had learnt from my Engineering studies and develop my IT skills. Much of my time as an apprentice has been spent outside of my comfort zone and facing new challenges. My time at Astro has taught me so much more than I anticipated. I have managed to develop my social skills and learn how to carry myself in a professional way that represents the company well.
Inside Astro I am part of the service desk team. I am one of six within our specific team, however, the service desk is part of the overall engineering team. My duties and responsibilities include: responding to 1st line and 2nd line support calls, assisting senior technicians, and providing services for new installations, such as PSTNs and DSLs. All whilst managing my own queue of tickets.
Astro’s philosophy of work hard play hard has allowed me to have a variety of different experiences outside of a professional capacity including sailing, shotgun shooting and a trip to Dublin. I really feel as if all of my hard work and dedication has been appreciated and rewarded. After a short time with the company I have been given the opportunity to begin taking more responsibility within the team including becoming a point of escalation and supporting new members of staff. I hope to develop my leadership skills in this role as I continue taking on new responsibilities and challenges.
I believe that my biggest achievement thus far has been my voluntary work. I was lucky enough to spend time as a helper with an organisation for young people with complex special and behavioural needs. I consider my time as an apprentice to be some of the most progressive and enjoyable years of my life.”
Thank you Nathan. Nathan’s last sentence says it all!