A day in the life of an HS2 apprentice
By Jake Arkle, IT apprentice at HS2 Ltd
Being an HS2 apprentice isn’t all about hard hats and high-vis jackets. Before construction begins in 2017, the project will need a team of highly-skilled IT professionals to ensure the technology works as it should. Jake Arkle, an apprentice on the HS2 IT service team, tells us about his first year on the apprenticeship scheme.
Things have changed a lot since I started at HS2 Ltd 12 months ago.
Back then I didn’t know anything about IT. I started out helping the service engineers, following them as they got on with their work, listening to their conversations, learning about the technology. I’m really proud of how far I’ve progressed. Now people come to me for advice.
This is my first real office job. At first I really thought I’d be at my desk all day every day, but it’s not like that at all. I’m always out and about around the office. Seeing what I can do to help. I really enjoy that part of the job - meeting people, building relationships – and still learning more about the organisation and the way everything works. After a year I probably know at least ten people from every team.
They rely on me. For example, I’m responsible for managing mobile assets - Blackberries, laptops, iPads - and keeping a log of each device. So when people leave, I make sure the next owner has the right profile.
I never felt that university was right for me. At first, I planned to go straight into work, but these days it really helps to have experience if you want to get a good job.
What makes apprenticeships different are the learning modules you do alongside the job. I’ve finished that stage of the apprenticeship now, but for eight months I went down to City Gateway, a college in Tower Hamlets, every Friday to study Business Administration and the fundamentals of IT. I found it really useful. It helped me knuckle down and really think about how to improve. I hope it will help me get a full-time job here once my apprenticeship is over. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
Most of my school friends are at uni now, but I’m sure I made the right decision. Even if I wasn’t on this apprenticeship, I’d be on a different one. So when people ask me if I’d recommend an apprenticeship, my answer is always the same. Definitely. It’s the best move I ever made.
Find out more about apprenticeship schemes.