What made you consider becoming a telecoms apprentice?
I considered becoming a telecoms apprentice because I had a strong interest in IT, especially on the networking side of things. At home, I was always taking apart my PCs, laptops and phones to see what was inside and to see how they work. This led to me building gaming PCs, servers and networks at home. Before the apprenticeship I was studying Level 3 IT and computing, after this I was looking for further study in the field that interested me so I went for an IT & Telecoms apprenticeship with the ITP.
How long have you been an apprentice?
I have been an apprentice for eight months .
What does your typical day entail?
My typical day can entail fault diagnosis and maintenance on IT & Telecom systems such as PABX and broadband connections. I also program and install PABX, VoIP and broadband devices on customer sites along with all the infrastructure that goes with it. Sometimes, if I am lucky, I get to take apart and diagnose faults on computers.
What are the benefits of being an apprentice?
The benefit of being an apprentice is learning whilst you earn. ITP apprentices also have many benefits like ITP insight events and seminars. The ITP is very supportive in your professional growth in the early stages of your career.
What advice would you give to other young people considering an apprenticeship?
If you have an interest in tech, and wish to gain some new skills In IT & Telecoms, this apprenticeship is perfect for you. It’s a quite technical job so problem-solving skills and a technical mindset is a must.
What made you consider becoming a telecoms apprentice? I didn’t enjoy University and wanted to learn specialised skills while being paid. Also the fact that I would have a guaranteed job at the end of my apprenticeship was appealing.
How long have you been an apprentice? For around seven weeks.
What does your typical day entail? My typical work day consists of answering tickets that customers have logged, speaking to clients on the phones, repairing and installing equipment and occasionally going to site and fixing faults that can’t be done remotely. As well as being shown and taught about the systems I will be using and how to repair them.
What are the benefits of being an apprentice? The benefits of being an apprentice are being trained and taught within a working environment. So not only are you learning the skills required to do a job, you are also receiving real life experience as you are in a professional working environment on a day to day basis. You are paid for the work you do, so you are earning as well as learning, this really incentivizes you to work hard. As you are an employee, you receive all the benefits that the company offers – for example I am eligible for private health care once I finish my six month probation period. I am also able to take part in the pension scheme. Another benefit is the Apprentice Oyster Card, as I work and live in London this is very useful.
What advice would you give to other young people considering an apprenticeship? The advice I would offer to those looking at apprenticeships is to do research in your field of interest so you can find the apprenticeship that is right for you. Remember that this is a step towards a future career, and to take it seriously as the impression you make while at work will have a lasting effect on your future prospects.
Find out more about the ITP’s Apprenticeship Scheme.
Following the government’s announcement that the scheme will go ahead next year, are you clear on what the apprenticeship levy means for your business?
What is the apprenticeship levy?
The levy is designed to fund 3 million places for apprentices, paid for by companies with a payroll of more than £3m and charged at a rate of 0.5% of their annual bill. The scheme will start in 6th April 2017, despite calls for a delay from business leaders due to economic uncertainty.
What does it mean for the telecoms industry?
- All companies with a wage bill of over £3m per annum will be required to pay the levy into a digital account which the government will top up by 10%.
- Those with a lesser bill than £3m will not be required to pay, but can draw from the scheme.
- Levy-paying employers will use money in their digital account to pay for apprenticeship training. If they do not have enough money in their account, the government will ‘co-invest’ with the employer to cover the extra amount needed.
- Non-levy paying employers will only be required to contribute 10% of the cost of training an apprentice. The government will cover the 90% of remaining training costs, and will also cover 90% of the extra amount if levy-paying customers do not have enough funds to cover all costs.
- Small employers will not pay anything if they employ apprentices under the age of 19, and will receive a £1k payment with an additional £1k payment to the training provider.
- Employers not using their levy fund within 18 months will lose it and the government will reclaim it.
- The next funding guidance will be published in October 2016.
What does the ITP advise?
Ann Potterton, CEO of the ITP comments: “Despite a mixed reception, and some resistance from key business groups, the long awaited apprenticeship levy will go ahead. We welcome a scheme which encourages more apprenticeships for young people. However, with only nine months until it comes into play, and only six months from guidance publication to set up, telecoms companies need to act now to make sure they are prepared.”
The ITP recommends:
- Those with a wage bill of more than £3m access the government’s online calculator to work out how much they will need to pay. They will need to know the percentage of their workforce living in England, and the type of apprenticeship training they will need.
- Ensure all payroll systems are set up to start paying the levy from April 2017.
- Funding will be received via a digital government account which businesses will need to register with from January 2017.
- All companies should start to look at recruiting apprentices either in-house or through an official scheme straight away.
Ann continues: “The ITP is the only organisation which specialises in telecoms apprenticeships, and our current scheme is still available until April. We are actively recruiting companies wanting to start apprenticeship schemes this autumn or next spring, and can help with the recruitment, funding and administration. We can also help businesses to understand what they will pay, what they are entitled to, and how to spend the levy or set up their own scheme to grow their own talent.”
For more information about the ITP’s apprenticeship scheme visit www.theitp.org
This week we ask Rhys Howitt, Apprentice Engineer at Premier Choice Telecom, 5 questions in 5 minutes about what it’s like to be an apprentice.
What made you consider becoming a telecoms apprentice? I wanted to be a part of a constantly evolving industry.
How long have you been an apprentice? Around four months now.
What does your typical day entail? Lots of hard work and learning!
What are the benefits of being an apprentice? Learning while you’re earning is a major benefit, but also interacting with colleagues and customers helps you learn a lot.
What advice would you give to other young people considering an apprenticeship? Don’t wait around to start an apprenticeship, it’s one of the best things you will do!
Fund out more about the ITP Apprenticeship Scheme.