A Springboard to Success
As part of our ‘Where are they now?’ summer campaign series we recently spoke to former apprentice, Intequal alumnus and now Lead IT Field Engineer, Brad Malcom at Absolute Technology to hear how he has successfully progressed in his career since he started his apprenticeship back in 2014.
Why did you choose an IT Apprenticeship?
Brad told us, “I left school and went to college for almost 2 years studying A-level Psychology, History and English Lit but ended up leaving due to personal circumstances. I wanted to begin a career and not just pick up any job where I was worried that I might struggle to stay interested.”
“I always had a love of tech”, Brad explained, “Friends used to call me when their device was broken and I enjoyed problem solving tech issues so decided to look for a job in a topic I was interested in. I had no idea what an IT support job entailed at the time but applying for IT apprenticeships I ended up, through Intequal’s help, being put forward as a candidate to new tech start-up company Absolute Technology.”
Brad added, “Martin Greening (Managing Director) is an amazing boss and has given me every opportunity to grow and excel in my career at Absolute Technology. I happened to land a good one!” Read Martin’s thoughts about Brad and his apprenticeship programme at > Absolute Technology
Did your apprenticeship studies help you in your daily job?
“I’ve always enjoyed learning in general and gaining new skills,” Brad said, “and going through my apprenticeship, I learnt about server and network administration. I quickly realized that the theory I was studying was providing the foundational knowledge to underpin my practical daily role and duties. Learning through experience with customer’s projects and on the job was where the majority of my knowledge has come from but I don’t think this would have been so easy to pick up without the accompanying studies to help provide a greater understanding of what I was actually doing and why.”
He added, “The whole experience was great with the trainers at Intequal (or ITSkillsman as it was back then), virtual learning in a group with apprentices from other companies worked well for me to share thoughts and different work project experiences.”
How important was the support you received during your apprenticeship?
Brad explained, “I think it’s important that an employer provides the right amount of time for your learning and supports you. I was lucky as Martin is a really good boss, really understanding – I was 18 then and in my first job and now I’m 26 so he has seen me grow from teenage to adulthood. During that time I’ve had lots of changes in my life and rethought my path but am really glad looking back that I stuck with it all. I always felt that Martin wanted the best for me and that really helped me stay on track.”
“The trainers were also brilliant,” he added, “I remember Sarah Malvern (Intequal Trainer) provided most of our training and she was really helpful. She didn’t make you feel like you had to do it all on your own and we had loads of support through weekly training sessions and a lot of one-to-one sessions to speak about any queries I had. I felt Sarah wanted the best for us and was invested in helping us pass and grow in our chosen careers.”
How would you describe your career progression to-date?
“Slow and steady over the past 7 years,” Brad replied. He continued, “When I joined it was just Martin and myself and then Rhys joined us a few years later as the next apprentice. Martin is really patient and helped me navigate through this learning curve. Whilst I was an apprentice, Martin initially put me in the shallow end doing the small things and talking to the customers and then gradually learning more and more in the field, being involved in cloud activities and then sales conversations. Nowadays, I project manage activities and have direct client relationships myself. I am also learning more about how a business runs, ensuring profitability etc which is exciting!
Brad continued, “The size and growth of our company has provided me with a broad remit of experience. I’m lucky having started with Martin at the start the company’s growth initially working with smaller companies to now numbering some 8 staff and working more clients and larger companies. I’ve grown up with the company, learnt a lot thanks to Martin and like to think I had a hand in some of that the growth too. He added, “I love my job and am in this for the long haul. I generally now teach myself anything I need to learn to support a customer’s immediate needs but at some point I would like to sharpen my tools though and maybe do some more courses to help me develop further.”
What would you tell your 16yr old self?
Brad did not hesitate here telling us, “I would definitely have got that 2 yr jump on starting my apprenticeship instead of going to college. My whole life, I had people telling me how important it was to go to college and Uni but despite starting off down that route, I never wanted to put 4 years into something I might not actually like doing. That is why I liked the idea of an apprenticeship. It would take just over a year of my life and if I didn’t like my career choice, I could try something else. Luckily, I managed to keep and enjoy the job, stay in the field and work for a really good company but if I had my time again, I definitely would have started an IT apprenticeship straight from school.”
Hear more from Brad himself and his recent blog explaining what his role as a Lead IT Field Engineer involves in terms of daily activities > Day In The Life | Intequal
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