18th January 2022 Share article

Why choose an apprenticeship?

Ryan Moore, IT Support Manager and Lead Systems Administrator, joined CIL direct from the Royal Navy. Here he discusses the value of apprenticeships and what it’s like working in CIL’s IT team.

What has your career looked like to date?

During my school years, although I achieved my GCSEs, I decided full-time education was not the route for me and so I successfully applied to join the Royal Navy as a Communications and Information Systems Specialist at the age of 16.

I served in the Royal Navy for seven years, completing four operational tours and furthering my education whilst on the job. After leaving the Royal Navy I took some resettlement courses to see if I could use my IT skills in a job outside of the Forces, which is where I discovered apprenticeship schemes.

I found and applied for an IT apprenticeship with CIL, and after a couple of interviews and some testing, I was successful and joined the team as an IT Infrastructure Apprentice. During the last five years I have been able to gain over 12 industry-recognised qualifications from companies including Microsoft and CompTIA, and whilst I had some underlying IT skills from my time in the Navy, the apprenticeship gave me the leverage I needed to progress in the private sector.

How did the Navy shape your life and approach to work?

Joining the Navy at age 16 forced me to grow up really quickly. I was serving alongside colleagues with up to 30 years’ service, and with people’s lives on the line I had to quickly adapt to learning and teamwork. I learned that in order to achieve something you are striving towards you have to commit yourself to the task at hand. It was also a very humbling experience. Growing up I wasn’t particularly focused, but serving forced me to mature and taught me the discipline and focus that you need to succeed in life.

What does your job entail and how has the IT at CIL developed since you started?

In the IT team no day is the same. There are always new challenges and problems to solve which keeps the work exciting and keeps you learning new skills.

At the start of my career at CIL we were a much smaller company with a couple of UK offices to look after. In the last five years we have exponentially grown and now cover four locations, including an office in Germany and one in the US. Our numbers have tripled, meaning we are constantly finding ways to streamline our processes and make CIL’s IT systems faster, stronger, and more secure.

Our growth means that our IT requirements have massively changed, switching from on-site local hosting in London to utilising cloud services, allowing us to better connect our international offices and enable employee collaboration from anywhere in the world.

Expanding our service offering to include Advanced Analytics has also been a fun challenge. We’ve had to support their requirements for specialist software as well as upgrading hardware to allow them to process larger datasets quickly.

With fast growth comes complex IT challenges for the team to solve. We are now deploying more IT Services than ever; dealing with people working 4,000 miles away; and trying to become experts in new software to implement around the company and enable growth, such as our specialist Microsoft Office plug-ins or CRM systems.

Why should somebody consider an IT apprenticeship?

If I had the chance to join an apprenticeship right out of school I would’ve jumped at it. It is one of the best schemes you can do if you aren’t fully committed to full-time education but still want to get qualified for a high-skilled job at a top company.

The apprenticeship provides you with all the training and qualifications you need to get into the world of work, whilst also giving you the practical experience that traditional education might not involve. You finish with a Level 3 Apprenticeship, equivalent to two A-Level passes, which gives you a great platform to continue your career with. There is no better opportunity to learn the fundamentals of IT whilst receiving free training, qualifications, and a salary. You just can’t find that outside of an apprenticeship scheme!

CIL is a great place to begin your career, you have exposure to how IT works internationally with the opportunity to visit our offices in Chicago and Munich. CIL also puts a lot of emphasis on training, with the IT team receiving separate funding specifically for industry training each year. This gives you the chance to specialise in different areas of IT and take courses to expand your skills in that area.

What can an IT Apprentice expect day-to-day?
Our IT Apprentices specialise in asset management – ensuring all IT assets are correctly stored, looked after and accounted for. They set up new users on the IT system, a really important and busy role, especially with the number of new joiners we see each year.

The role also involves troubleshooting in what is called first-line and second-line support. This means responding to different IT problems and using various resources available in order to solve the issue and get the user or system back up and running as quickly as possible.

20% of the apprenticeship is dedicated to training, giving Apprentices the skills and knowledge needed to work effectively. As they progress through the apprenticeship, through both training and the job, they are exposed to more IT systems and other high-level aspects of IT. The qualifications you receive will give you the ability and confidence to work on larger projects as time goes on.

Starting an IT career with CIL brings limitless opportunities to develop and learn.

We are looking for someone passionate about technology to join our growing IT team. The successful candidate will begin a fully-funded Level 3 Apprenticeship with support from those who have completed one themselves. If you’re interested, you can apply here

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