National Apprenticeship Week 2019: Harry Kirkpatrick07 March 2019

National Apprenticeship Week, 4-8 March, shines a light on future technicians and engineers, and the courses, teachers and employers that prepare them for success. Harry Kirkpatrick is an apprentice infrastructure technician at Masternaut.

I’m an apprentice infrastructure technician and by the end of January, I’ll have been at Masternaut for six months. My main responsibilities include account management, user setup or deletion, and hardware configuration. I am also responsible for entering information on our asset management platform and making sure that all company devices are working smoothly with the correct software installed on them.

I chose to be an apprentice because I didn’t want to continue full-time education. I wanted to work and continue learning at the same time though, so I attend college every month for a week. The rest of my time is spent at work. My apprenticeship offers me something new every day, especially in IT.

I attended sixth-form, got my A-Levels, got an AS in Media and in Philosophy, but didn’t do anything IT-related in college. I did do IT Computer Science at GCSE-Level though. I originally planned to do IT at A-Level but I couldn’t because they weren’t offering it at the college I was attending at the time, so I thought to myself “right, I’m going to start doing IT now”. Basically, I applied for a few apprenticeships and Estio, the organisation that I do my apprenticeship through, put me in touch with Masternaut.

For those that have never done an apprenticeship, I’d say it’s definitely more work then going to school. Some of the modules I have finished in college are coding and logic, mobility and operating systems, and business process. These are the basics of what an infrastructure technician or service desk operative needs to know. The difference between school and an apprenticeship is that you then get to implement these skills at work, where you learn far more about IT (and faster) than you ever would by being sat in a classroom all day, every day. Other benefits of doing an apprenticeship include receiving a regular wage and becoming a qualified apprentice infrastructure technician at the end of the course.

The apprenticeship lasts a year in total, and then I’ll do an endpoint assessment. This is project-based, but I don’t know what it’ll be doing as there are four different options.

Since starting my apprenticeship I’ve had to have a bit more faith in myself and act more independently. But in terms of IT, I’ve learned a tonne about different pieces of software and hardware, and about servers and even phone systems - there’s simply too much to mention in writing. On the flipside, I’ve probably learned more about myself and my personal skills than IT. It’s a user-facing job, so I have to interact with people to figure out what their issues are and, more importantly, how to resolve them. So I feel like my communication skills have improved massively.

For people who don’t want to be sat in a classroom all the time, yes, completely. You learn what you would in a university or college on the job, whilst gaining experience and getting paid. Someone can try to teach you the IT skills in a classroom, but until you implement it at work yourself, you’ll never understand it properly.

I’m hoping to become a full-time employee at Masternaut. If not though, I’ll continue my career elsewhere in the same field. I’d definitely prefer to get a full-time job in IT rather than going back into higher education.

I think if I went to university, I could get a qualification and maybe get a job out of it, but if you would’ve worked for that period of time instead, you’ll have far more experience then any graduates of the same age - and without student fees.

Harry Kirkpatrick

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