Winner of the Christopher Mills Award at the ITP Annual Awards 2018, Benjamin Bruin talks to us about his career and what winning the award has meant to him.
What is your current job title?
I work for Openreach within the Field Dynamics Team of Service Delivery. My permanent role is a Customer Solutions Resource Planner for the North West, however, since November I have been covering as the Operational Planning Manager for the South East.
Can you tell us about your telecoms career history so far?
During my final year of Sixth Form I applied for an apprenticeship with BT, but was turned down after the first few stages of the hiring process. I then decided to further my education and completed a degree in Mathematics at the University of Sheffield, before updating my BT application profile. For the next couple of years I worked several different fixed term contract jobs before receiving an email form the BT recruitment team offering me the opportunity to interview for an Analytical Apprentice position in Leeds. Within two weeks of completing my interview I had been offered the job, moved to Leeds and started my introductory training.
I completed my three year apprenticeship in August 2017 having attained an NVQ and Foundation Degree in IT for Business.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement so far would have to be winning the ITP Christopher Mill’s Award last November.
How important is mentoring to you? Have you been mentored or mentored a colleague?
During my apprenticeship I had two mentors. One was completing a Graduate Scheme and the other was a senior manager within my department that had previously been an apprentices and an ITP Awards finalist. Having both mentors allowed me to gain the support and knowledge when necessary to help me with progression, development and guidance. I would recommend all apprentices to seek a mentor and there is lots of support available to help find the right mentor for each individual.
Mentoring is something that I would like to get involved with in the future so that I can provide the support, knowledge and guidance that I have gained and that was available to me.
What did winning / becoming a finalist mean to you?
Winning the ITP Christopher Mill’s award meant a lot to me and was a huge achievement. I had worked on my project for the year leading up to this during my time at University and any spare time I could free up whilst completing my role within Openreach.
In 2016 I was a finalist for the ITP Apprentice of the Year award and in 2017 a regional finalist for the National Apprenticeship Apprentice of the Year award. Having just missed out on these, it made me work that bit harder so that I could go one step further and win an award.
The awards dinner was a great evening and it was really nice to be a part of an event that celebrates the success of several individuals within such a large and competitive industry.
What has happened since winning the award?
Since winning the award I have continued to develop my project and managed to receive support and guidance from several senior members within Openreach.
I have also been invited to be part of a panel at a BT event in London where I will speak and take questions from ex and current apprentices, as well as sharing the stage with other ITP winners, senior leaders and two of BT’s Chairmen.
What advice would you give others considering entering an industry award?
Go for it! The first year I applied for one of the awards I thought I had no chance, but figured it would be a good opportunity to share what I have achieved so far and see where I could develop. Next thing I knew I was a finalist and had been invited along to the awards dinner.
In your application include everything that you have achieved, no matter how small it may seem, and get involved in as much as you can. There are lots of conferences and places to visit that the ITP offer, which provide a great opportunity to learn, network with senior leaders and fellow apprentices, and see areas of the industry that very few people have the opportunity to do. I even managed to attend a conference in Brussels.
Whether you are unsuccessful, become a finalist or win, it is a great opportunity to reflect on, be proud of and share what you have achieved.
What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in telecoms?
The telecoms industry is great to be a part of. There is always something new being developed that will effect and benefit so many people within their everyday lives. I have learnt a lot since beginning my career and I can honestly see myself staying within this industry for many years to come.
For more information, or to enter the ITP Annual Awards click here.