An apprentice can do much more than make tea and coffee!

When we think of an apprentice, we think of one of two things; the TV show ‘The Apprentice’ with Lord Sugar or, someone who gets stuck with the job of making the tea and coffee. These are pretty accurate, but neither of these is the actual truth in today’s world. 

The actual definition of an apprentice is, a person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period for a government defined entry-level wage. For me, an apprenticeship means so much more. It’s basically a University course without the student loans, debts and lectures. Furthermore, alongside learning for free and getting tons of career building experience, you are also getting paid! Okay, it may only be a lower wage in the short term, but the plus side is, as you learn and grow, you are setting yourself up for a future career and if you work hard, a long term role at the company who gave you your chance.

As a new apprentice, I want to tell my story of how I have found starting a new apprenticeship at RapidSpike supported by Estio, and why I would recommend an apprenticeship course over any University course.

I applied for an apprenticeship course at the end of March 2019, and by April I had a starting date at RapidSpike and all the content I needed to begin my course work. 

Up until that point, I’d never worked a day in my life, so starting a 9 till 5:30 job was an extremely daunting prospect! Before I started, I received a welcome email with everything I would be doing over the first two starter days, plus a look into some possible future tasks and even the company’s one-page strategy & plan for the year. Knowing all this lifted a huge weight off my shoulders, and made walking into the office on my first day that little bit easier.

Luckily, I needn’t have worried – the whole team were so welcoming and supportive. After an induction and a tour of the building, my desk was ready and waiting. I was given a laptop, a notepad and pen, some branded merchandise and even an inspirational quote book! 

My first day was spent getting to know everyone, setting up my accounts, and getting to grips with the role I would be playing at RapidSpike. The main part of my role is in the Customer Support Engineer, which is being the 1st line of support to customers. Welcoming and helping new customers create and set up their accounts, creating User Journeys and ensuring that managed journeys are up and running and helping with sales by creating demo accounts which have all features to show to our new customers to help them understand the RapidSpike platform.

In the weeks that followed,  I was given loads training to help me understand how RapidSpike works, what the company does and how to get the most out of all aspects of the platform. Furthermore, I was given a tutorial of how to chat to customers and how to use our chat systems which was really helpful for working on support. 

I have now been an apprentice with RapidSpike for two whole months, and have had the best of experiences! They opened up my eyes to my real potential and gave me the freedom I needed to work and learn. They trusted me with independent 1st line support, I’ve been included in all the different social & company events, I really feel like part of the team!

I thought my apprenticeship would be made up of me making tea and coffee for everyone and watching others work while I write notes. I haven’t made a single beverage (unless I offered!) and haven’t had a day where I have not been productive. From day one, I have been set right on task and have really been pushed to see my true abilities and potential. I am now working towards a level 4 in software development and am now looking towards getting a degree! 

Over the years, more and more people have chosen to go down the apprenticeship route over a university course. Statistics show that on average, it takes 4 to 5 years to achieve a university degree, whereas it can take 1 to 5 years for an apprenticeship. Furthermore, a 5-year university course costs up to £9250 per semester! Whereas with an apprenticeship, you earn as you learn which means there are no student loans needed and there are no debts to worry about. 

To conclude, I would highly recommend that anyone who knows what future career they want or anyone who wants to get a degree in half the time, that you go down the apprenticeship route. Being an apprentice gives you the independence to work, learn and earn plus experience in a real workplace which may result in a permanent job! In addition, not having the worry of paying back student debts and getting paid is a huge added benefit of being an apprentice. 

My apprenticeship experience at RapidSpike with training & support by Estio has only just started, but I believe that because of the support and trust from RapidSpike, I have a future career in software development and will one day work my way up and help RapidSpike as it grows.