1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an apprentice in the I.T. function of the business, more formally known as an 'IT Cadet'. The programme consists of a 5 year plan where I will be rotating around different teams within the apartment, switching every four months. I am also enrolled on a part-time university course, where I spend one or two days a week attending university to study and earn a degree. This is a great opportunity because by the end of the five years I will have gained extensive work experience as well as a great qualification.
I am currently placed on the End User Computing Team. This is the department that deals with employee's mobile phones and computer equipment. We work through requests for equipment and incidents that have been raised by staff with technical issues. I have to put my customer service skills to use as I talk to many employees from around the world each day while maintaining a professional work persona. I get to use the latest smartphones and computer equipment and get to share my interest with similar people on the team. I have to teach employees how to use their equipment and help them with their devices.
I have to ensure that everything I do is logged through the necessary databases and systems because the service department have to keep track of everything that we do. It's important that I work as a team and know when and who to ask for help because there are larger issues that we have to control and fix.
As well as university and my normal job role, I am involved in three different, high priority projects too, one of which I am leading. The job can be challenging sometimes and puts me to the test, but I am learning something that I am genuinely interested in and am making my way towards a successful career in IT.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Although I haven't been with the company very long, I have been trained to carry out many different processes with our phones, computers and systems independently. As a new starter I was placed on a team where I could start off slow and learn at a comfortable rate but there are many things I can do now that I didn't even think of before. Of course I am learning at university alongside the job as well, where I am learning even more skills each week. The company have organised for me to earn many different qualifications during the programme.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I do enjoy the programme and the benefits that come with it. I work with very friendly and normal people who I can have a laugh with. I know that someone is always willing to help me when I have a problem. I feel proud to work for the company as a whole as it is a very successful business and exciting new things happen all the time. The programme has exceeded my expectations so far and I have a long way to go.
4. How valued do you feel by Laing O'Rourke?
I feel very appreciated by Laing O'Rourke, unlike other companies that I have worked for in the past. My seniors and my colleagues recognise me and actively look to help me each day. I feel like I can suggest and contribute my ideas and ask for work-related or personal advice. There are a lot of good people working around me and it makes my job more satisfying.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The package has been tailored to me individually and has been structured from the start. On my first day I was shown a five year placement plan to tell me what teams I would be working for over the course of the programme. It was made clear to me before I started, who I would have to report to for various things and who I would be meeting and working with on my first day. I know that I am in the right hands and that my path is being created for me to follow.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
There is never just one person training me, because there are a team of specialists who are all willing to teach me. Nobody every has a problem supporting me with my work or teaching me new skills, so I am happy with the level of support.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My manager has been very helpful so far. They have been very supportive from the start and helped me to fit into the office. I had a few struggles with university at the beginning but they were always willing to sit down with me and have a friendly chat. I have a personal mentor assigned to me who meets up with me regularly just to make sure that I am getting along well and to check my overall process with the programme. There are lots of different people who express their willing to help me.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I have certain living living and travel costs, the same as everyone else. I think that I am paid generously because my salary covers my standard costs and reimburses any that are related to university. The package has been structured very considerately towards the lifestyle of a school/college leaver.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
As a new starter, I haven't been presented with any opportunities outside of work as such. However, I have had a chance to get outside of the office for a day and to go out to site in London. This was very rewarding as I got to see what the business actually produces first hand. It was a very enjoyable trip and there will be many more opportunities to go to different sites in the future. I know that there are annual events where employees have a chance to give back to the community for a day or two by volunteering in local areas to help out other people, I look forward to my chance to get out and do this too.
9. Would you recommend Laing O'Rourke to a friend?
The programme has met my expectations, I am happy with the job, I'm enjoying the benefits and I'm on a road to a great career.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Laing O'Rourke?
Prior to the programme I had no experience in IT whatsoever and that worried me. I spent a long time worrying about my lack of skills in this field because I didn't think that I would be successful. To any person aspiring to join the programme, I would stress the fact that you don't need to have this experience because you will learn everything from scratch. Laing O'Rourke is full of very talented specialists in every field who can teach you how to become an expert yourself.
I would recommend that you focus on promoting other things yourself. I think that I was chosen because I made a strong effort to come across as a very friendly person who would fit in well and make a good member of a team. I proved that I was capable of being able to work as a leader but also as someone who could take instructions too. It's important that you give examples of times you have proved the qualities they are looking for.
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