In March 2019, I took a leap of faith in leaving my teaching job to join Welsh Government as a Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Pathway Apprentice. I’m now nearing the end of my first placement on the scheme and already it’s clear that I couldn’t have made a better choice in reinvigorating and future-proofing my career.
Prior to enrolling on the DDaT Pathway Apprenticeship I spent 5 years working as a Teacher, having specialised in Primary Education and Special Educational Needs. Whilst I found my work rewarding, the focus of the work was often administrative, and I regularly found myself having to work outside of my conditioned hours in order to meet the demands of the role. The six-week summers went some way to redress the balance but I was still having to work even during these holiday periods.
Healthy Work-Life Balance
Well, no more! Since joining Welsh Government I have been able to lead a healthy work-life balance whilst gaining new skills and insights from staff with expertise in interesting and varied areas. I feel like a valued member of the team and am able to contribute in a meaningful way to the work of Welsh Government.
Welsh Government has a real focus on staff welfare, as evidenced in its approach to flexible working and the introduction of the weekly Well-Being Hour, which encourages staff to take an hour each week to focus on their own well-being.
I’m currently working within the Office of the Chief Digital Officer, gaining invaluable experience as a Business Analyst. The Business Analyst profession sees practitioners ensuring outcomes are aligned with service vision and business strategy, whilst providing a “critical friend” role to challenge in a constructive way. In this way the Business Analyst facilitates collaboration in order to support design, build and delivery to meet user needs. I’ve spent these past few months familiarising myself with Welsh Government ways of working and learning as much as I can about my current role.
Since joining, I have been able to take advantage of countless training opportunities, as well as being given attentive 1:1 support by my Placement Supervisor. Being placed with a Business Analyst has allowed me the chance to work on a wide variety of projects across Welsh Government. What’s more, because of the tailored tuition I have received I am able to make a meaningful contribution to those projects. This has included contributing supporting evidence to the analysis stage of projects; leading interviews with customers in order to determine system requirements; as well as getting involved in the design stage of a project by creating mock-ups of a website.
As well as daily support from my Placement Supervisor, I also receive regular support and guidance from my Cohort Manager. This ensures that the Apprenticeship is aligned to my goals and aspirations, as well as keeping me abreast of the objectives of the Apprenticeship. Because of these communication channels I am regularly made aware of the different training opportunities that are available to me, allowing me to further my development within Welsh Government.
All-in-all, I haven’t once regretted leaving my teaching career behind to start afresh in my new venture, and I couldn’t recommend enough the DDaT Pathway Apprenticeship.
Post by Josh Henley, Digital, Data and Technology Apprentice