Current role: QA Team Lead, Sytel Ltd., Aylesbury
Apprenticeship scheme: 3AAA with City of Oxford College and Sytel Ltd.
Courses: Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals
Extended Diploma in ICT Systems and Principals
Progression: BSC Computer Science, Warwick University (starting Sept. 2016)
Joe grew up in Truro, Cornwall where he took his GCSEs and A Levels and started to follow in his family footsteps by studying Medicine at Plymouth University. However, this did not turn out to be the right choice, and he left after 2 years.
Having always been interested in computing, Joe decided to move more in to this line of work and investigated how to progress down that path. Through 3AAA, a training provider of Apprenticeships in England, Joe was associated with the City of Oxford College where he signed up to 2 BTEC Level 3 qualifications; the Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals, and the Extended Diploma in ICT Systems and Principals. At the same time, he took an apprenticeship work placement role with Sytel Ltd, a software house based in Aylesbury developing software for the contact centre industry.
The routine of one week at college followed by a week at Sytel was an excellent grounding for Joe’s first 3 months. He was then permanently at Sytel as a full time employee, submitting projects and work evidence to college as he progressed with his studies.
Joe completed and passed both BTEC qualifications in May 2016. His role at Sytel also progressed steadily, moving from Support Engineer to QA Team Lead.
The story doesn’t stop there; Joe knew that the apprenticeship had confirmed the path he wanted to follow and he decided to pursue computing to a further level with a BSc being the natural next step. With 2 relevant BTEC Diplomas, 2 years of work experience in a recognised software house and a clear vision of his goal, Joe applied to a few universities and received offers from them all. He starts his BSc in Computer Science at Warwick University in September 2016.
Benefits of work placement
Drive for constant improvement – the testing processes require constant maintenance and review to improve the speed and quality of testing. Joe automated several test scenarios and implemented a test management system for organisation and prioritisation purposes.
Business awareness – Working with international customers has provided an insight in to the business constraints applied due to different rules and regulations.
Working as part of a team – the importance of this cannot be underestimated; the benefits of the team far outweigh the individual approach as the quality of the product reflects.
Work ethics – being a full time employee demands certain expectation; 9am start and 5:30pm finish, attending meetings, providing weekly reports, delivering results to tight deadlines and general office environment situations.
“I started in the wrong direction”, says Joe; “Having the nerve to change direction and start again was tough, but I am so pleased I took that decision. The apprenticeship with work experience at Sytel Ltd provided the perfect combination at the right time for me. I now know where I am heading, and I am really looking forward to the next step of this exciting path. I would encourage anyone who isn’t 100% clear on what they want to do, to consider a work place apprenticeship. The combination of study with employment can lead to great opportunities.”
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