James completes the ICC Apprentice Scheme with Distinction
We’re very proud to announce James Lunn’s achievement of completing the apprentice scheme with distinction here at The ICC Group.
We first started an apprentice scheme in 2011 to develop and encourage junior service engineers with the use of our in-house workshops and guidance from senior service engineers. The scheme is within a government apprenticeship framework and partnering with a local training provider.
We talked to James to find out what the apprentice scheme is all about and what his achievement means to him.
Why did you decide to join the ICC Apprentice scheme?
I decided to join the apprenticeship scheme back in early 2018, I was working full time in a retail supervisory role that I felt was not enough for me.
I had always known that I wanted to work in the IT industry but I did not have the relevant qualifications to pursue the career path I wanted. The apprenticeship scheme was perfect for me, it allowed me to continue to earn a wage and retrain simultaneously.
What qualification have you been working towards and what did it entail?
On completion of the apprenticeship I attained a BTEC level 3 Infrastructure Technician in IT systems & Networking. This was split into five exams, each carrying their own respective qualifications. I developed a portfolio demonstrating what tasks were completed at work and how they were relevant to the course. It also involved a week long synoptic project that was held at a test centre in Leeds and a final remote interview with an invigilator where I was asked questions regarding all of the previous work I had completed.
The five exams and their qualifications were created and maintained by two different governing bodies, these were Microsoft and the British Computer Society.
The three Microsoft exams were:
- MTA in Networking Fundamentals
- MTA in Mobility and device fundamentals
- MTA in Cloud fundamentals
And the two BCS exams were:
- BCS certificate Business Processes
- BCS certificate in Coding and Logic
The Portfolio was an overarching background piece of work that lasted almost the entire length of the scheme. It was used to evidence all the jobs completed at work which were relevant towards the apprenticeship, as well as to demonstrate my knowledge of the company and its processes.
For the synoptic project that was completed away from work, I was presented with two virtual software installations, configurations and troubleshooting scenarios to work though. I was told to choose the one I felt most comfortable with doing depending on my skill set and experience.
Finally, there was the 60-minute interview conducted online, this was a structured discussion regarding the previous work I had completed. These were things such as the portfolio, the synoptic project and an employer’s reference.
What were the most challenging aspects of the scheme?
One of the most challenging aspects of the scheme, for people in my position, I think would be the wage. As I was slightly older than most when I began, at 25, I think people around that age generally would not consider an apprenticeship as a means of retraining. At the end of the day though, you are making a few short-term sacrifices for the betterment of your long-term career and I believe it’s 100% worth it.
What did you think of the course?
Overall, the course was a great way to enter the IT engineering industry. It covered a wide range of topics and still went into enough detail for me to get a good understanding of each. The core of my learning, was done through my in-house work at ICC from shadowing and working with other engineers who were very supportive. They proved to have invaluable knowledge and experience that I do not believe I could have learnt at any college or from an online course.
How did you manage your course learning whilst working full time?
It was easy to manage my learning whilst working full time as it was all structured and organised for me. For each of the five course topics I would spend a full week at a QA owned building in Leeds. During this week we would cover the topic, revise and practice for the exam and then on the last day we would sit the exam. I prefer this method of ‘cramming’ as opposed to taking a single college day weekly and was happy it was structured like this.
On top of the five course topics there was the portfolio to complete which was all based around my time at ICC. This was also easily managed for me as my superiors allowed me any time needed to write up evidence and coursework. It is also greatly encouraged at ICC to learn new skills regularly and to take notes and write things up. This fitted in extremely well with building my work-based portfolio.
What advice would you offer to others considering the apprentice scheme at ICC?
I would firstly fully recommend an apprenticeship scheme with ICC for anyone looking for an engineering job in the IT hardware industry. I would however advise that they be a logical thinker who have a penchant for hands-on work and isn’t afraid to get a little mucky on occasions.
How did you celebrate when you completed the course?
I had planned to go on a holiday away with a few friends but with current Covid-19 restrictions we had to postpone it. I will be sure to celebrate next year when I go away.
What’s next? What are your plans?
I have got a couple of other courses that I am currently working towards. I plan to keep adding qualifications and skills to my own personal engineering portfolio indefinitely.
Mick Evers, Head of Group Technical Services, said “Congratulations to James Lunn on his successful completion of the ICC Group, government approved apprenticeship scheme. James worked very hard and well deserves the distinction grade he achieved which has helped develop him into a very competent engineer, working on a broad range of system and storage platforms, which ICC support for our customers.”
The ICC Group Apprentice Scheme
If you are interested in joining the ICC Group’s apprentice scheme, we would like to hear from you. You can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 0333 220 0413 to find out more information and when our next apprentice intake will be. You can also view all our current job vacancies here: Careers within ICC.