When Matt (21) finished his A-Levels he had little idea what he wanted to do next, but he knew he wasn’t interested in university. After hearing about apprenticeships at college he applied for several and landed himself a position at Openreach, BT’s local network division. Two years on, he is now a fully qualified engineer almost at the end of his apprenticeship, and has built up the confidence to take on the next challenge.
“Having no engineering experience, I was initially really concerned about the requirements of the apprenticeship and the technical aspects of my role” Matt explains. “It was a relief however to find myself in a similar position to many of the other apprentices starting at the same time as me.”
A typical day for Matt consists of the maintenance, installation and repair of the local access network between residential or business customers and their local exchange. He can often find himself completing anything from a single residential repair to a multiple line business installation.
Moving from a classroom-based environment into a technical and demanding role was challenging to begin with. However, as Matt explains “the apprenticeship has also given me the tools and confidence to network with employees at all levels. My organisational skills have developed and I now have a defined career path.”
Throughout his apprenticeship, Matt has made the most of every opportunity which has come his way. In just two years, he has hosted mentoring talks at local schools, run development events for fellow apprentices, coached and trained new engineers, and covered his operations manager – at one stage managing a team of 22 people. In fact, he now hopes to pursue a career in apprenticeship coaching, helping to develop the apprentices of the future.
“My apprenticeship has allowed me to see areas of BT that are never often seen. I have climbed radio masts, visited the BT Tower, attended conferences at Adastral Park and even had lunch with BT’s CEO and his top team. All these opportunities have been made available to me as an apprentice giving me amazing experiences and brilliant networking opportunities that not many often receive.”
Alongside the apprenticeship scheme, Matt has been able to take advantage of the ITP Mentoring Programme which sees a senior telecoms professional matched with an apprentice. “Mentoring with my ITP Mentor has been hugely important in helping me to develop my confidence and knowledge of roles outside of engineering. Nick (my mentor) has helped to introduce me to new positions and people I would have never met in my day to day role. He has helped me to develop my knowledge both in and out of BT.”
So, what’s next for Matt? “My ultimate ambition is to progress to a senior management role. I am motivated by the concept of having a team who I can inspire and develop. My dream for the future is to achieve a role such as this, providing me with the expertise, knowledge and skills to help develop not only people in my team but across BT and the wider industry.
Apprenticeships are great alternatives to university and further study. Earn money along with valuable knowledge and experiences. Your apprenticeship is what you make of it.”
Matt is the winner of the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals Apprentice of the Year Award, which recognises outstanding contribution made to the industry. The ITP’s apprenticeship scheme has created more than 60 roles across the industry since its launch three years ago .