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Former IT apprentice

“I was 38 when I started here, and I really joined the programme as a route into the company and into the IT sector. It was somewhere I could change careers and focus on what I really wanted to do with my life. I’d had several roles previously – manufacturing, quality control, finance, things like that – but I’ve never had an IT role and it’s always been something I wanted.

What’s great is that FCO Services don’t put an age limit on being an apprentice, so not everyone is a school-leaver or college-leaver. I was older than what you’d think of as your ‘typical’ apprentice, but this programme was the perfect entryway for me too; somewhere where I could get some appealing qualifications and get hands-on experience in an IT environment.

FCO Services was somewhere I could change careers and focus on what I really wanted to do with my life.

Before I came here, I didn’t have that experience at all. Immediately before I came to FCO Services I was actually working as a childminder. I’ve got a family of my own and I was doing that while the kids were small. Now that they’re a bit older, this seemed like a great way to switch paths, in a place where I’d have plenty of support, flexibility and people to learn from.

One of the best parts for me is that you spend time with different colleagues within each team. In each rotation, I’d start out working with some of the junior members of the team, then ramp up through the week, and for the last few weeks, I’d be spending time with subject matter experts who can explain how different technologies link together. It gives you a nicely rounded view of how the team works.

There’s a culture here of developing people by making sure you feel comfortable to ask for help.

Plus, the courses you go on fit well with the rotations you’re doing. As an example, I did a network fundamentals module, and that was the perfect time for me to start a placement with the Networks team. You get that background detail so that you’re not starting from zero every time you join a new team. Even if you don’t have experience of something, that’s okay. There’s a culture here of developing people by making sure you feel comfortable to ask for help, even if you’ve made a mistake. People are very forgiving: you aren’t berated for doing something wrong, and instead they help you get through it, learn from it, and find out how to avoid making that mistake again. The organisation really sees the value in helping you through those teething experiences so that you can make a better contribution in the future."