5 mins with George Keevil, Senior Service Desk Engineer, Premier Choice Group

What was your first apprentice role, your job title and what did it involve?

I was employed as a tier 1 service desk engineer, which involved a lot of learning to begin with.  The company I work for mainly sell a single brand of phone system and they try to set each up in a similar way.  My day to day duties involved answering calls from customers, updating fault tickets, programming routers to be sent to customers, speaking to our field team who visited the customers, speaking to Openreach to get lines repaired and basic system configuration.

How did you find out about the apprenticeship?

I had recently quit university and was looking for a job at my local job centre.  The very helpful lady there thought I would be suited for an apprenticeship and I expressed an interest in IT and technology, so this role suited me well.

How did you feel when you first started?    

I was very nervous at first, this was my first real job outside of hospitality and working at festivals in the summer.  I had very little experience working in an office, nor any experience answering a telephone!  The first few weeks I was there just shadowing the current employees, and after a month or two I did have to start answering calls and speaking to customers.  The first one was the hardest and I had lots of support from the business to make this transition very easy.  Within a week it was almost natural, and by the end of that month customers started to recognise my voice and were happy to speak to me.

How long did you stay in the role?

March 2019 will be the start of my fourth year here.

How did you find working and studying at the same time?

Sometimes if we were very busy in the office, it was difficult to break away from my usual duties to complete coursework.  However, I did enjoy going to college and then bringing back some new knowledge and applying it to my job.

What is your current job title? Can you tell us about your journey from your apprenticeship to now?

I am now one of two Senior Service Desk engineers, and there is only one position higher than this on the service desk.  I had to work very hard to get here and bring my knowledge of the various systems up to the same level of some of our older engineers.  As an apprentice I had to show I was capable of taking on projects or more simple tasks well, and ensured I always followed them through to the end.  I was an apprentice Tier 1 service desk engineer for 18 months, then when I finished my apprenticeship I was tier 1 for eight months and then was promoted to tier 2 in the summer of 2018.  Since being promoted my duties have shifted towards project work, mentoring current apprentices, SIP trunking, network migrations and I am now an escalation point for all of our current tier 1 service desk members who get stuck with a fault and need some further help with their case.

What advice would you give other young people looking at apprenticeships?

I would say to any young person, either leaving school, college, university or even to someone who has been out of education for a few years, undertaking an apprenticeship was the best decision I have made in the last few years and I would say GO FOR IT!  I am generally a much happier, confident and outgoing person since getting this apprenticeship, and it has taught me a lot about myself and really brought me out of my shell.

What would you say to businesses considering employing an apprentice?

I would ask you to take a chance on a younger person, look for someone with a good attitude, personality and an eagerness to be part of your team, and the rest can be taught to them.

What was your biggest success and biggest challenge as an apprentice?

I would say my biggest success of being an apprentice was the great feedback I received from customers, which really helped me get respected by my colleagues and especially managers, this helped me win an internal prize at work which came with a nice bonus! 

The biggest challenge I faced as an apprentice was balancing my work duties with college coursework.  However, my manager did allow me to take time off during my work day to complete my coursework, which really helped me.

What are your career aspirations from this point onwards?

I would like to continue working here and continue to move up through the ranks. 

To find out more about the ITP apprenticeship scheme visit www.

Find out more about the ITP’s apprenticeship scheme at www.itpapprenticeships.org.

Premier Choice Group www.premierchoicegroup.com

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