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National Apprenticeship week 2019. Catching up with our Apprentices

Posted 04 March Celestra Marketing

For National Apprenticeship week our Training Coordinator Kat is going to be catching up with our Apprentices. Finding out how they’re getting on and also, speaking to those who started as an Apprentice but have developed into having a career at Celestra.

Katarina Cvjetkovic: Celestra are promoting National Apprenticeship Week from Monday 4th March and I will be asking our Apprentices to give us an insight as to what Apprenticeships at Celestra look like. This time round we want to give the Apprentices a voice. So, first question for Curtis!

KC: What surprised you the most when you started?

Curtis Ellmer: How fast the company has grown. I started 2 ½ years ago I was the 10th Technician and we are now close to 20 Technicians. Plus, new Apprentices.

KC: That is testament to everything we do here and how much that Can-do Attitude goes a long way.

KC: How would you describe your job to your friends?

CE: I work in IT. Simple as that.

KC: Do they ask you what you actually do, as IT is quite broad?

CE: I use an example like McDonald’s is a good one. When you go into McDonald’s and you see all of the screens; I do that! I leave it at that as it’s a lot easier to explain. You break it I fix it!

KC: Do you find that they can relate to it when you explain it that way?  

CE: Yes, they know what I’m working on, but not necessarily how we do it.

KC: Do you find yourself going into our customers and thinking that is one of those PED’s or those tills?

CE: I notice what is broken and tell them that they need to get that fixed!

KC: That is a good thing! It’s part of our QS and value add. We get the job and carry on supporting our customer. I like how simply you’ve put it; most of you have said the same thing!

KC: Tell me about the qualification you are working towards currently?

CE: I am currently working towards the Level 4 Networking Apprenticeship. I have just completed the revision for Server Plus and ready to sit the exam, I’m due to finish very soon. I did the Level 3 Infrastructure Technician previously so that helped me work out what I wanted to do for the Level 4 qualification.

KC: Did you find it natural transition to go from a Level 3 to Level 4 Apprenticeship?

CE: Yes, one day I was finishing Level 3 and then I carried on starting the Level 4.

KC: You are spear-heading these qualifications within your department. The only one in the South working towards this qualification?

CE: I am the only one completing the Level 4 Networking and there are two others working towards their Level 4 Apprenticeships, but in Infrastructure. So, there are three of us.

KC: You’ve been supporting and instrumental with new Apprentices coming into the business. Giving advice and guidance and how to pull together a project. I’ve supported them when they’ve needed it; how to lay out a project; how to cover the subjects.

CE: Yes, this is the harder part. You will have it all in your head and you’ve got to get that down on paper. Writing it is definitely harder that doing it!

KC: Did you find it easy to impart your knowledge on the other Apprentices in your department?

CE: It was as I didn’t have anyone to do this for me.

KC: What do you like about working at Celestra?

CE: The friendliness. The workload is a lot, but everyone is really friendly, and we go through it together, which helps a lot.  

KC: I can imagine. Your department just keeps growing and now with the move to the new building and new colleagues joining us and new customers.

KC: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you at work?

CE: I can think of one immediately. The ice-cream truck and Mahesh asked for a cone and Zack got him a cone, no ice cream. He has not lived it down. He meant ice-cream cone not just a cone!

KC: Do you bring this up on a regular basis?

CE: Yes, if Zack forgets to QC a breakfast order. Mat didn’t get a breakfast and so we said; ‘This is just like the cone all over again!’

KC: It sounds like there’s always a lot of laughs in your department! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

CE: You’re welcome!

Katarina Cvjetkovic: Today I am with Matthew Bellis. Matthew is our newest Apprentice and I have asked him to discuss his Apprenticeship. So, first question!

KC: Why did you start your career with Celestra?

Matthew Bellis: I wanted to get my foot in the door in IT,
and an IT business. I wanted to do something practical and so an Apprenticeship seemed best suited to me. I am a practical person, but I will be learning IT at the academy and here at Celestra.

KC: So, you can see the bigger picture in terms of what you can learn here?

MB: Yes. Definitely!

KC:What surprised you the most when you started?

MB: How quickly I picked up
random till names and how quickly I understand a lot of EPoS equipment I am working with. When I go to a restaurant, I can see what EPoS equipment they are using; this till and that type of PED.

KC: Good! I like that! When you first start there was a lot of jargon; they are just words and they don’t mean anything. As you’ve mentioned you are quite practical and once you’ve touched it, felt it, seen it and played with it, it starts to make sense. Now you can say that: ‘I’ve worked on this till. Or ‘That’s for that customer’.

MB: One my friends started working for one of our customers and they mentioned the till and I told them I knew how the till operated and who worked on that till!

KC: You’ve got background knowledge and I know how it all works.

MB: Yes, I know how to do the job!

KC: You are currently working towards the Infrastructure Technician Apprenticeship tell me a little about it.

MB: For the theory work I have 5 exams and I get taught for a week and then complete revision work at the academy to prepare myself for the exams. I have projects that I need to complete at work. I’ll do projects on Stonegate or Marstons and the write up includes behaviours and what I need to be doing to support the Project team so it all comes together.

KC: There is a lot of theory to support the exams and the projects support the practical and theory work that you do here, so that you can demonstrate that you have been exposed to different projects and you need to get that down on the page.

MB: I found that after exams the project I will be doing will have jargon from the what I have been learning and it sticks!

KC: Good! You can see how it all comes together. Are you enjoying it?

MB: Definitely. I can see how my knowledge can be taken from what I have learnt in EPoS and how that can move into other parts of IT and IT infrastructure.

KC:What’s your proudest achievement at Celestra?

MB: On a personal level, I’ve come out of my shell and I am not as shy as I used to be. This has helped as when I first meet people as I used to be quiet, but now if I’m meeting people for the first time, I don’t find myself being as shy as I used to be.

KC: All our departments interact with one another and it’s not likely that you will not have met people across the business. There are daily interaction with a lot of people within your team and other teams across the business. I can definitely say that you didn’t come across as very shy when we first met; there was cheek and a good sense of humour, and we could see how you would fit within the team. It’s not a bad thing to sit and observe, especially when its new.

MB: I agree

KC: Thanks for taking time to let me interview you!

MB: No problem. Thanks Kat!

National Apprenticeship Week

Katarina Cvjetkovic: Luke is our Apprentice coming to the end of his qualification and I have asked him to discuss his Apprenticeship. So, the first question!

KC: Tell me about the qualification you are working towards?

Luke Wright: I am currently working towards the Level 3 Infrastructure Technician Apprenticeship. Five branches of technical skills accredited for, based around networking skills. I started in September 2017 and should be finished soon. Its been a challenge, but I have learnt a lot along the way. I wanted to change; I wanted to learn and know more.

KC: Do you think that you achieved the original goal?

LW: I achieved what I set out to achieve and I learnt more than I could have imagined. I definitely don’t want to stop.

KC: Good! Excellent!

KC: How would you describe your job to your friends?

LW: What I am currently doing, where I am stationed and the rapport I have with my customers. I tell my friends that I build tills for pubs; an easy way of saying what I do. I work closely with the Stonegate team. I tell my friends that I take hardware, put it on a bench, configure it, send it out to the site to be installed and used to serve you guys.

KC: Does that make sense to them when you start using words like configure and build and install?

LW: I start to lose them once I mention IT. I tend to point out the work I’ve done say, for instance, we’re in a Wetherspoons I’ll say, we probably did those. I find it quite interesting how much of an impact we have on big brands in Hospitality.

KC: What’s your proudest achievement at Celestra?

LW: Being able to work my way up in Technical Services. Technicians are assigned to clients. A lot will start with the support centre and I worked my way into supporting the Stonegate team. The knowledge I have developed has made me a leader of the work we do for Stonegate. I’ve kept the respect of the projects team and our client and this has been maintained to a good standard.

KC: In three words, how does it feel to work and learn at Celestra?

LW: Challenging, eye-opening & fulfilling. Once you get the job correct it is rewarding. I like to take pride in my work, and I think this adequately describes my role here at Celestra.

KC: Wonderful and more to come. You’ll soon get the opportunity to support the new Apprentice coming into the business. A chance for you to impart all that knowledge you’ve gained!

LW: Yes, I will be taking the new Apprentice under my wing. It teaches me skills in management and education; skills that I didn’t think I would get the opportunity to learn and pass on.

KC: Wonderful. It’s been great catching up, thanks for your time.

LW: No problem! Anytime.

Katarina Cvjetkovic: I’m with Liam – our original Apprentice! Over the course and evolution of Liam’s time with the business he is now working towards his second qualification. I want to shout about it; tell people about it and include Liam’s voice in this. So, the first question!

KC: Why did you start your career with Celestra?

Liam Shinners: After taking my Business Studies A Level I was interested and keen on getting into a business environment and I thought to apply through an Apprenticeship. I applied for a Business Administration Apprenticeship and luckily Celestra was my first and only interview! I was offered the job very soon after.

KC: You must have interviewed well!

LS: It was more a discussion and getting to know me as a person and how I would fit in.

KC: That’s good, as the business has grown so much since
you’ve started. It’s nice that they were looking at how you would fit within
the dynamic.

KC: Tell me about the qualification you are working towards currently?

LS: Well, where do I start?
I’ve achieved ICT Functional Skills at Level 2 with my BTEC Level 3 Business
Administration Apprenticeship. I am now studying towards my AAT, but I have
completed Level 2 Bookkeeping Control and Bookkeeping Transactions.

KC: You’re going to ace this!
You’ve done so well so far, and you’ve got a fantastic team and you use all of
the resources available to you. (I know this because I don’t have to get
involved, you and your team are pretty self-sufficient!)

LS: All of it is linking. My
advanced bookkeeping is tied into what I am doing for month end, so it all
links well. All of what I am learning is what I am being exposed to here.
Hopefully, I will get full marks *fingers crossed*.

KC: All of the hard work that
you’ve been putting in I wouldn’t doubt you for a second!

KC: What’s your proudest achievement at Celestra?

LS: My proudest achievement at Celestra would be not only achieving my Business Administration Apprenticeship but also receiving the shining star award when I was finishing up working with the project teams.

KC: Good! To be the first to
come into the business not only is it new for you…

LS: … but its new for the
business!

KC: Yes!

LS: No-one really knows how to
treat an Apprentice, but luckily, I’ve been treated well.

KC: You’ve set the president,
we have new Apprentices’ starting and ones that started after you.

LS: I don’t feel like I’ve been
treated any differently to a normal member of staff. I’ve felt like I am part
of the business.

KC: And that is the way it should be! The only difference is that during your first year should be a learning journey and demonstrating that you are working towards qualification and this should be the same for everyone, however, yours is intrinsically linked. 

KC: To wrap up the interview. In three words, how does it feel to work and learn at Celestra?

LS: Balanced, Interesting and Helpful. I would say it is ‘balanced’ as I am always offered the opportunity to carry on with work. It’s ‘interesting’ as I have a passion for the subject, and I am part of the Accounts department. Finally, ‘helpful’ because what I am learning helps with what I do day to day. I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given here.

KC: You are more than welcome.
You are the right person to have been given the opportunities as you see the
value in what you are learning. It’s not just a qualification to get a job at
the end of it, you see how it gives you more opportunities for your future.
That is the most important part for me. Thanks for taking the time to sit down
with me and give your view on the Celestra Apprenticeship programme.

LS: No problem! It’s great to
just have 5 minutes and reflect on how far I’ve come since I first started.

KC: No doubt next time we sit
down you’ll have passed those final exams!

LS: Thanks Kat!

KC: Thanks Liam!

Interested in working at Celestra? Check out our casting call page.

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