This week is National Apprentice week in United Kingdom and to celebrate we have asked four of our apprentices to share their experience with us. Jessica Stoneman, Hamza Shah, Abrahim Navaz and Lee Green are working in Cyber Security and Technology and are all doing an apprenticeship with Maersk.
What does an apprenticeship entail? How is the time managed between work and learning in a classroom?
Lee: Apprenticeships, I see as a training program to train a new generation of practitioners or traders that does on-the-job training with some classroom work on the side to gain an understanding and knowledge of the role that is expected of them.
Abrahim: An apprenticeship for me is an opportunity to grow my knowledge in a field I enjoy through an alternative path instead of university. The big advantage with an apprenticeship is whilst learning you are also applying that knowledge and I feel as if that is something you can’t really get anywhere else. The time between the work and learning is easily balanced for me as I allocate a set 8 hours each week to ensure that I’m able to get the learning aspect of the apprenticeship done to balance along with work related responsibilities. This is done as 20% of the time during the apprenticeship is dedicated to off the job learning.
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?
Lee: I have chosen to do an apprenticeship due to my lack of experience within the technology industry. I had been doing a lot of self-studying and building technology stuff at home, but I didn’t have any experience in a natural working environment. After three years at Maersk, I have now gained a lot more experience.
Jessica: I had just finished college and was working out what I wanted to do in the future. I have a passion for computers and knew I wanted to pursue a career in tech. Having done some research I decided that university wasn’t for me and had a look into apprenticeships. I read about how I can earn while I learn and gain real life experience and I decided that was my next step.
What would you highlight as one of the best things about being an apprentice?
Lee: The highlight of being an apprentice is you gain qualifications for free without having it cost you at all! They have an NUS apprentice card, which gives you a discount everywhere e. It is a steppingstone to build your confidence as more work and responsibilities grow on you the longer you work at Maersk.
Jessica: It is great to enter the workplace and really feel like I’m starting my career. I’m treated as part of the team and it’s an amazing opportunity to discover what I enjoy about cyber security and where I want to take my career in the future.
Hamza: Everyone offers to help. Everyone makes sure you’re alright. As apprentices, some people go straight into a work environment from school and may not know much about Cyber Security which can be daunting at times, but everyone makes sure that you ask questions, and no questions are bad. If you don’t understand something, they will sit with you, whether that person is in America or in the office, they will call you or sit with you and go through what it is you don’t understand, and I think that’s one of the many best things about being an apprentice. Getting that reassurance.
What has been one of your biggest learnings as an apprentice?
Jessica: I have learnt to take any opportunities offered to me and to constantly network to the people around me. The apprenticeship has really helped me to grow in confidence, time management and technological knowledge allowing me to take the first steps to a very promising future with the company.
Hamza: Although it has been about 5-6 months, I can say that I have learnt a lot. From time management to effective planning. I have given myself time to make sure I make time for on and off the job training.
Are there any myths about apprenticeships that you would like to dispel?
Lee: You are never too old to start an apprenticeship. I am 33 years old and started my apprenticeship journey when I was 30. People always believe it is only for school or college students leavers at 16 to 18, but that is a myth.
Abrahim: A myth that I’d dismiss about apprenticeships is that people may think that tasks given to apprentices do not matter. This is wrong, as during my time at Maersk’s Cyber team I’ve been doing tasks and been part of projects that the team work on.
Who would you recommend taking an apprenticeship and why?
Jessica: I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone wanting to develop their career. It is important to find something you are interested in and want to learn more about as this will make the apprenticeship a lot more enjoyable and it is important to want to expand your knowledge. It is a good first step into a professional work environment.
Hamza: If you want to work in Cyber or any other work sector but don’t know where to start, or you think you need training or work experience. Apprenticeships are the way forward. Whether you come out of school or college, after university or even later down the line, an apprenticeship could be an option for you.