Before I started working here though, I was in a completely different industry. I was in hospitality, and I’d been the manager of a couple of different restaurants. But I’d always had an interest in electronics, computing, making things. So although everything was going well for me in the role I was in, I just really wanted to move into a career I was more interested in.
With FCDO Services, I found the opportunity to be able to travel the world, whilst at the same time getting to leap into the technical field I wanted to be in.
So, when I applied to be an apprentice, I was 24. I applied in February and started in September, and at that point, I didn’t have any relevant experience, honestly. I’d started a university course at one point in Chemical Engineering, but it wasn’t strictly related to what I do now. The organisation took my interest and my potential and gave me the training I needed.
You pick up a lot of skills very quickly, and I would say that’s a mixture of what you learn in the classroom and your practical training. You’re getting hands-on experience in skills from metal works through to electrical fit-outs and wiring buildings. But you’re also studying for qualifications at the same time, and you pick up a lot there too: we’d do things like team projects, where we’d design a product and write all the paperwork around it, and you learn so much by doing that kind of work.
By your third year, when you’re working in the UK and overseas, it feels like you’ve made huge strides up to an experienced level.
If you’re a career changer, I’d definitely encourage thinking about this programme. When I started the apprenticeship, I was actually taking a step back in terms of professional development to start over in a new field. That was quite daunting to take that leap, but you ramp up so fast in your training that it doesn’t feel like a step back for long. By your third year, when you’re working in the UK and overseas, it feels like you’ve made huge strides up to an experienced level.