'Being an apprentice is more rewarding than university'

Anna Goodchild has already been encouraged to seek a leadership role once she finishes her apprenticeship at BT

Anna Goodchild

Apprenticeships: Despite only being in her second year, Anna Goodchild has already been encouraged to seek out leadership roles as her next step

I am a second-year networks apprentice at BT, currently focused on the live network in the Networks Operation Centre.

I found out about the apprenticeship through friends who had been through the scheme with BT. They encouraged me to apply as it had been so great for them.

In school, apprenticeships were not as big a focus as I feel they should have been. The big focus was going to university, so I ended up going to university, getting a degree and then applying for an apprenticeship a few years later. If I had known apprenticeships were available, I would have chosen that. It has been far more beneficial.

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When I started my apprenticeship, my expectation was that I would start off doing menial tasks and work my way up during my time here at BT. 

In reality, we are encouraged to get stuck in with work, but are never pushed too quickly. I started off learning on non-service-affecting tasks and am now working on live issues and speaking to engineers and suppliers. I also didn’t expect to be improving skills such as leadership, but I have been encouraged to pursue leadership roles and develop my skills within my day job and in extracurricular work.

I work on BT’s live network within the operations centre at Innovation Martlesham. This means that I am reacting to live alarms on equipment and working proactively to stop issues from arising. I most often spend my days speaking with suppliers and field engineers so that we can get the network working at its very best.

I love my job. Not only do I get to make a real difference by maintaining BT’s network, but I also get to learn new things every day. I have the option to rotate across many areas in networks, which means that I am able to develop a massive range of skills. I work with the loveliest people, who are always up for teaching me new things and help me to develop my career.

My manager is not only a great role model, but he also really cares about my development at BT. I have had the most amazing experiences so far, and I often am able to have casual chats with my senior director. Everybody here wants us to succeed and, if you are willing to put the work in, they will support you in whatever you want to do at BT.

Intense environment

My favourite part of the job is the satisfaction I get from knowing that I have seen a fault through from start to finish. Working on the live network can be intense at times but once it is all fixed you can relax and know that you did a great job.

As I have experienced both university and the apprenticeship, I can honestly say that this apprenticeship is so much more rewarding. I get stuck in with on-the-job training, while also attending university, all with the support of my friends, manager and team. I am also a part of a massive community of apprentices here at Innovation Martlesham, so I don’t miss out on any social aspects either.

My family and friends were all really proud of me for seeking a career change and all said that I would do a great job.

I have already been encouraged to seek a leadership role once I finish the apprenticeship. But honestly, the possibilities are limitless. Once you have finished your apprenticeship, you can go anywhere in the business and have experience across a wide range of roles.

My main goal is to be happy and to make others happy. I would love to be in a strong, friendly team and in a role where I can help others to be the best that they can be.

I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship after school - or even as a career change, as that is what I did. You get paid while you learn and develop skills on the job, alongside university – and you don’t accumulate any student debt either!

Anna Goodchild is a second-year networks apprentice at BT. She tells her story as part of the Tes #InspiringApprentices campaign

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