Let's talk apprenticeships

George has recently completed his Technical Sales Appenticeship in the role of an Account Manager in the health sector at Microsoft.

George has just been awarded Technical Sales Apprentice of the Year! Congratulations George!

What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?

George said, “I’d say not to panic and not to rush. Seek out information and look for other options. I was told to go and do A-levels or university. If I had sought options at the time, I’d have been open to apprenticeships much earlier. Be proactive, don’t rely on others to tell you your options.”

 

Apprenticeships are available beyond school and college leaving age

George began his tech sales apprenticeship with Microsoft at 25. Like so many college leavers he wasn’t sure which career path to choose but he was clear about what he didn’t want to do. As he explains, “I had no intention of going to university after college so initially I turned my part time job in retail into a full-time role. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever. I had thought about doing an apprenticeship in school however this wasn’t pushed by teachers and so I had no real knowledge of this opportunity. It was pretty much assumed that you’d go to school and then uni.

George continues, “I had been working full time for 6 years for a major supermarket chain and had progressed into various roles but wanted something different.”

“When I thought the time was right to change my job, I thought an apprenticeship was the right step. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I started by looking at a company I knew wanted to work for – Microsoft. The apprentice programme options to apply for were either business or technical apply – I chose tech roles. ”

 

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?

“I always struggled with exams at school but did very well at coursework. I preferred this as my method of learning. Exams were more of a memory test of a chunk of information whereas the coursework was more of a practical application of knowledge and for me that was a better style of learning. Now everything I’m learning on my apprenticeship course I am putting into context daily.

 

Why did you choose a career in technology?

George explains, “I never knew what I wanted to do. I did know that IT was a subject that I found enjoyable and it came to me quite naturally. At home, I had built a computer out of computer parts and always knew I had an interest in how technology works.

 

Are there any benefits that you’ve enjoyed that you didn’t anticipate?

One of the major benefits for George, alongside the tech skills he is acquiring has been building confidence when presenting to groups. George said, “This has happened naturally throughout the classroom studies with James our Intequal trainer. We need to present in front of each other, and this was always done in a welcoming, relaxed and calm environment. James helped by providing constructive criticism in how I could improve my skills. I have now presented to an audience of over 200 so this change has been a huge plus.”

 

What’s next?

George’s aspirations are now much more focussed from the experience gained on his apprenticeship. As he says, “For the first time ever, I have a goal that I want to get to. The big next step. I have pinpointed a role I’d love to work towards – focussing more on customer facing areas. Talking directly to a CXO client at an expo recently, I felt confident to engage. I also had enough product knowledge to be able to open discussions around technology solutions and was inspired to develop this role further. I am open to all opportunities, but a realistic next step would be to take pursue a higher apprenticeship to develop my tech sales skills further.