1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an Information Management (IM) Service Management apprentice doing placements in teams within Service Operations, Service Transition and Service Delivery as well as others, shadowing and assisting them in carrying out BAU and/or project work while working towards completing an NVQ qualification and industry specific qualifications. Day to day, work involves send and replying to emails, going to meetings, carrying out business as usual tasks and some small pieces of work as awell as shadowing team members as they do these things as well. I'm may find myself communicationg with people both within and without IM and Service Management, including people in the wider TfL business. My responsibilities vary from placement to placement, but generally involve taking on some of a team's work in order to gain an understanding of their role in Service Management.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I've learnt about the ITIL framework and how Information Management uses it to serve customers in the business. I've also learnt about asset management software such as Ellipse, Remedy ticket management and geographical information systems. I've also developed general office skills required for working in a professional IT environment.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Most people are lucky if they can work in jobs they enjoy, but on the service management apprenticeship scheme, you can tailor some of your non-core second year placements in order to explore areas of IM you feel you may have an interest in. Teams are generally quite welcoming and friendly and the company as a whole is a nice place to work at. From what I've seen and heard, TfL had a much more relaxed culture than other companies, where outside of certain teams, you're given a lot more flexibility with your time, so long as your work is up to scratch.
4. How valued do you feel by Transport for London?
Generally any praise we get comes from placement managers and our apprentice sponsor, rather than from the company as a whole. There isn't often much recognition of the IM apprentices outside of this. We do get to make some input into projects as part of our placements, but it's not a primary goal of the scheme. This input is generally acknowledged in some way, but due to apprentices' minor role, doesn't amount to much.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
You start with a week long induction into TfL and the Information Management department in particular. You are then generally rotated through placements every 6 weeks, with some placements longer or shorter as necessary. At first, you'll do the core 3 month placements in Service Operations, Service Transition and Service Delivery. After you first year however, you'll have more of an opportunity to go to teams you're interested in, allowing you to explore and find the sort of work you like. During this, you'll go on training courses for key industry specific qualifications like ITIL or APM.
Throughout this, you'll be supported by your mentors and line manager. Each placement will see you working with a team where you can observe and get involved in their normal day to day work.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
They deal with the NVQ qualification and generally are contactable via email in the case of any problems. They provide good feedback when you haven't fufilled all the outcomes of a module and seem generally helpful.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
TfL are generally very supportive, both for professional and personal concerns such as support for disability or illness. I have regular 1-2-1 meetings with my apprentice sponsor to dicuss my placements and other issues. I meet with my manager more rarely, but they are available should I need to talk about anything. I've foudn the general attitude to be one where they're happy to help me.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
As I live in the Greater London area, I've found the salary and benefits package inadequate to live independantly, as the salary would barely cover rent of a room, food and council tax, leaving most of the bills still to be paid. Bearing this in mind, only the staff oyster card and discounted rail season ticket would allow me to commute to and from work. Even so, it is very hard to live independently, so I have to live with family instead.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is normally a christmas festive event, and sports activities are often advertised on the online staff noticeboard. Voluntary initiative such as poppy donations, charity cake sales or donations for unfortunate members of staff are a regular occurance. There is a gym nearby as well, events at the O2 and a few 5 a side football games organised by staff.
9a. Would you recommend Transport for London to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
There's good opportunities available for those who wish to start a well-paid professional career in ICT and the company is willing to sponsor the development of your career over time, including training courses gaining industry-recognised and/or degree qualifications. It's also a pretty decent company to work for by most accounts.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Transport for London? *
Prepare for the interview by learning a bit about the company and go in confident. Customer service experience in any background is a good thing to have, as it allows you to talk about how you dealt with issues and provided a good service to them to interviewers. Make sure you make the most of each opportunity you encounter and demonstrate your worth, as at the end of the day, you'll be looking to roll off and get a job!
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