1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My job role as a second line support network engineer varies on a day to day basis. But usually includes fixing various incidents that are raised on a ticketing system, both auto and user-generated tickets. Upkeep and creation of documentation, overseeing the transition of new projects being migrated into network support and the general support of the lead engineers within my unit on higher level incidents and problems.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Since the beginning of my apprenticeship course on June 2017, I've earned 4 qualifications on various subjects through internal training courses with MTA qualifications and also BSC qualifications, I have also completed a Cisco certification outside of the course which on top of the other qualifications should greatly enhance my CV and boost my career following the end of the course.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I highly enjoy the team that I work with, and the ability we share to distribute knowledge and work-flow down within a hierarchy ladder we are able to do with great effect obviously with myself being at the bottom of the chain. The programme itself and the curriculum isn't always related to my exact job-role and it is potentially a little generic for all apprentices in a similar role, however everything I have and will learnt will benefit me in some way if not now, then in the future of my career.
4. How valued do you feel by Atos?
I certainly feel more valued from within my team than I do from the management above me. This could be a cause of how closely I work with the team every day and how little time I actually spend in contact with my managers. But this is certainly an area I feel that is lacking on my course, that internal recognition that isn't really there and generalized feedback that is given more often than not. If it was not for my team being wonderful at showing appreciation this score would be lower.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The induction programme which was designed to start just before you began your first days at work, for us happened over one month into our jobs which devalued the importance of an "induction". The training and support from QA - the apprenticeship providers - has been fantastic, and our QA skills coach has also been great. However, due to the fact that the course itself isn't directly related to my job role, and there still seems to be a large misunderstanding within my own company about the course it prevents this score from being higher.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
As mentioned above in question 5, the support from the training provider has been wonderful, we meet up with our skills coach once a month who has explained all of our questions if we had any, and if she was unable to answer she would get back to us with an answer via email within a few days. This certainly enhanced my feelings towards the course itself in a positive manner.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
As mentioned in question 4 about being valued, from within my own team the support and guidance is exceptional, however it is the management side of things where I feel let down. I don't feel that there is the correct attitude towards supporting us and whilst it's not directly said there is an atmosphere of "just an apprentice and not important" that is aimed towards us
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Again this is another area that severely lets me down. This is mainly due to the fact that I live on my own, being above the average age of most apprentices at 24. This means that our wage is well below the minimum/living wage due to it being an apprenticeship course, and although it is not a "bad" wage by apprenticeship standards it has certainly been a struggle to afford to live, to the point where I quickly had to take on a weekend job and work 7 days a week to afford to live whilst I do this apprenticeship course.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Apart from the internal training courses with QA, and the induction of which we spent a month away from office, there isn't many opportunities outside of work that are openly presented to us in relation to our department. There is a fair amount of communication from the Graduate departments about events, but these are usually all based in London - far from where we are based, and tend to be focused more towards Graduates themselves rather than Apprentices
9. Would you recommend Atos to a friend?
Although the wage is not great, and the attention from management is lacking. The course itself is valuable enough just from the qualifications you will earn, and the environment you will find yourself - as well as the experienced professionals around you - will give you enough of a base to learn key skills and develop your career if/when you decide to further your progression elsewhere.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Atos?
The application process was long, it took myself 3 months from when I first applied to my first day on the job, but they are all designed to whittle down the competition due to a high number of applicants and it is certainly worth it to stick with it. The experience you will gain from a large company like Atos is priceless, and you will gain knowledge that you will be able to take anywhere in the world, as well as having a large reputable company to boost your CV this course is a great way to get your foot in the door, and kick your career on from there.