Network Engineer apprentice case study: meet Sam


| Reading time - 3 mins

Sam completed his Network Engineer apprenticeship at Tekgem, a tech company providing industrial cyber security services. After achieving a Distinction, we caught up with Sam to find out more about his experience and why he chose to do a Level 4 Network Engineer apprenticeship.

What inspired Sam to choose a career and apprenticeship in the tech industry?

Sam followed the traditional career route from school to sixth form college where he achieved his A levels in IT, Maths and Geology. He grew up surrounded by technology, explaining he “was always tinkering with tech from a relatively early age; building my own systems, taking games consoles apart and fixing system issues for family members and neighbours that had any issue. I was fascinated about how different technologies worked.”

Sam won a scholarship to university to study computer programming but started to feel like he was losing his passion for the subject, as the university content and teaching approach were too theoretical and difficult to relate to real work-based activities.

He was inspired by his close friend Liam, who was completing an IT apprenticeship with Tekgem at the time. The combination of online sessions and on-the-job time training that Liam’s apprenticeship provided, really appealed to Sam. When Liam mentioned his employer was looking for another IT apprentice, Sam jumped at the opportunity.

How has Sam’s role grown since completing his apprenticeship?

Following his apprenticeship success, Sam is now enjoying additional responsibilities. This includes visiting major customers in the petrochemical industry to conduct cyber security audit activities on legacy systems, control systems and protocols. He is also making recommendations and running projects to update and replace unsupported technology and improve customer’s security postures. Sam is keen to keep learning, gaining further accreditations in cyber security and other areas of his field.

Does Sam have any advice for other aspiring apprentices?

Sam said, “I do feel that apprenticeship need to be better communicated by schools and colleges. Just two weeks after I had started college, my tutor sat me down to fill in my UCAS form. No other options were discussed, and it was a given that this would be my study progression route. I tell my younger sister Katie to not be rushed, stop and look at the study options open to you. Don’t be pushed in one direction believing that is the only or best route open to you.

“In my experience, especially having visited both study routes, a work-based learning programme like an apprenticeship works very well to begin a technology-based career. In IT you learn from doing and the training provides the theory to back up the practical activities. The skills learnt on this apprenticeship provided me with a fantastic grounding to support my day-to-day activities and then the on-the-job work provides the experience variety I needed to understand how to apply the theory as every customer has different environments. This combination has fast tracked my learning way beyond my initial university studies.”

Thinking about starting a Network Engineer apprenticeship?

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