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Apprenticeships … Aren’t They Just For School Leavers? #olddognewtricks

A Career Change into a Digital, Data & Technology Apprenticeship

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg

How did I get here?

Picture of Ted, Digital, Data and Technology ApprenticeI worked for BT as a Project Manager for 25 years ….. and 12 months ago there was an opportunity for me to accept redundancy terms.

I really enjoyed my career in BT, but I felt that after spending the previous 10-15 years managing projects to deliver IT infrastructure, I really wanted the opportunity to be on the “other side of the fence” and actually get involved in the technical side of ICT world.

When I joined BT in 1994, I had a short exposure to the world of software development and delivery, but my career path soon took me into the world of Project Management ….. and my technical skills soon dried up. I have no regrets …. but I sometimes wondered where my career would have progressed had I followed the technical route.

So I “bit the bullet” in Aug 2018 and agreed to leave BT in Feb 2019. This meant I had 6 months to plan my new career and start applying for ICT roles ….. this was both an exciting and daunting time !

Little did I know that when I was visiting Careers Wales and undertaking ReAct (post redundancy) training, I would be working with these organisations and teams when I joined the Welsh Government … it’s a small world !

When I saw the job advert for the Welsh Government DDaT Apprentice role, I was immediately interested …. Why? Because they wanted people with an interest in ICT but not necessarily with any previous qualifications in ICT. It seemed a great opportunity to join an organisation with a clear commitment to training new staff in the rapidly developing Digital world.

But aren’t apprenticeships for just for school leavers?

I was concerned that being 46 years old would exclude me from an apprenticeship. But I really didn’t want to miss this opportunity, so I rang the number on the job advert. I was surprisingly embarrassed to ask the question :

“… is this job for ….. erm ….. older people too?”.

I was relieved to hear the answer from the friendly (if slightly amused) Welsh Government person on the line :

…. yeah, we have people of all ages and backgrounds on our apprenticeship schemes … the more the merrier! ”.

So I applied …… and was delighted when I was one of the 10 people across Wales who passed the application/interview process.

What am I currently working on?

I started my first apprenticeship placements in Skills and Higher Education with the team responsible for creating ICT systems. This was exciting for me as I would have the opportunity to work with software developers and testers, and hopefully start to develop my own skills and experience in software development, testing and support.

So far, I have been involved in:

  • User requirements
  • Resolving queries
  • User testing
  • Attending training

My favourite part of the work so far has been the opportunity to learn about different programming language.  So far I have undertaken on-line training in SQL, C#, .NET, Python and XML.

All the team have been very welcoming and have encouraged my questions and requests to shadow them.

Career Change  … Apprenticeships  …. Welsh Government ?

So, if you are looking for a career change, please don’t think it is too late …. Old dogs can definitely learn new tricks!

I can highly recommend the Welsh Government DDaT Pathway Apprenticeship scheme as a superb opportunity to develop new digital skills in a supportive environment.

Post by Ted Diment, Digital, Data and Technology Apprentice


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