- 1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
- 2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
- 3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
- 4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
- 5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
- 6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
- 7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
- 8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
- 9a. Would you recommend The National Archives to a friend?
- 9b. Why?
- 10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to The National Archives?
The role of a Service Desk Analyst sees you provide what is best described as "Tech Support" to members of staff and colleagues working in The National Archives. The Service Desk is the first line of support in any IT Department and The National Archives is no exception in this. On a day-to-day basis, you will be expected to provide support remotely, face-to-face and, over the phone. Tasks will require support provided through software or through yourself taking physical action.
Doing this apprenticeship has been nothing short of excellent when it comes to both learning new skills and developing existing skills. The interesting aspect of the role is how it combines knowledge of technical support with knowledge of excellent customer service. Since starting the apprenticeship, I've taken on numerous learning and development opportunities that have been organised both as a part of and independent of the apprenticeship standard.
I've been really enjoying my role on the Service Desk and the apprenticeship program concurrently. On the Service Desk, I'm fortunate enough to work with a genuinely excellent team of colleagues which extends to the whole of the IT Department and the wider organisation. For the apprenticeship itself, you will likely attend training courses hosted out the office and on these courses, you will meet people who are able to provide a new insight into working in IT or will have experiences that you can relate to from being in the role. Of course you need to work hard to take on this information and apply it to the apprenticeship standard that you take however it will only be beneficial to do so.
The apprenticeship programme itself is structured decently. For my apprenticeship standard, I am required to attend 5 knowledge-based courses, complete a summary portfolio covering numerous competencies and, complete a synoptic project which sees you apply this knowledge to your work in a practical way. The programme is designed in such a way that, despite looking daunting at first, you realise that your progression through the course aligns with how the course is structured.
The National Archives is an amazing environment to carry out an apprenticeship. This is true to the extend that I testified so before line managers, directors and internal stakeholders within the organisation during National Apprenticeships week. It is very much possible to have 20% of your time in the office allocated to your apprenticeship and I have no doubt that, should you find yourself working here, that your colleagues will also be supportive of your apprenticeship.
My training provider has been consistent in giving me support and guidance in terms of progressing my apprenticeship and ensuring that I complete it in the right way, pointing me in the right direction. I have a tutor who has worked with my colleague as well as myself and we have meetings no further than 6 weeks apart. These meetings are always constructive and pleasant to a degree where I look forward to meeting them again. I have never found myself feeling unsupported by my training provider or tutor.
It goes without saying that in any role, you will pick up the processes and functions of your job sooner or later. By doing an apprenticeship concurrently, you guarantee that you learn it all much sooner. After each course I attended at my training provider, I have returned to my team more confident and with new ideas to ensure that I demonstrate competence to my colleagues as well as my line manager. You will definitely put theory into practice with what you learn on the courses. As part of the knowledge-based courses you take, you get a professional qualification for each of them. They will enhance your knowledge of working on a Service Desk or the IT industry as they have done so for me.
The National Archives, being a government department, participates in the Sports and Social Club through the Civil Service. The National Archives also operates a bar open every Friday evening as well as a gym with frequent fitness classes or recreational exercise. We have a sports hall to facilitate many sporting activities including but not limited to basketball, table tennis and boxing. The organisation also facilitates "in your shoes" days where you are able to spend a day or two working for another department within The National Archives. This is made more interesting when you consider that The National Archives has departments for distributing government records to members of the public, powers legislation.gov and, is responsible for the active preservation and conservation of public records. Working for The National Archives also entitles you to free entry at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew as well as discounts at multiple restaurants and activities in the Kew area. Working for the Civil Service entitles you to many discounts outside of government departments ranging from travel to tech.
I would recommend The National Archives to a friend as it is an organisation that provides an excellent introduction to the Civil Service. We're not one of the "great offices of state" but TNA is still an important government department and in my opinion, is paramount in the preservation of British History and Culture over the last thousand years.
The application process for The National Archives is reasonably straightforward. All jobs are advertised on Civil Service Jobs as well as gov.uk. In applying, you tend to fill out an online application. Each question provides prompts for you to help complete your answer. I'd definitely recommend using those prompts to write answers to them. Once you make it to the interview stage, the less you're prompted to say after answering a question, the more likely you are to be considered a successful candidate from a recruitment campaign. Particularly for an apprenticeship, it's most important that you have some background knowledge of the organisation and that you can demonstrate a potential to learn. Onboarding will start with a phone call to confirm that you have been offered the position, followed by an email to log on to gov.uk and accept the job offer. Be diligent in corresponding with the HR representative as well as who will become your line manager. You will need to be DBS checked before being allowed to begin work at TNA however TNA will support this. You will then need Security Clearance from the UK Staff Vetting service for this role specifically. Again, TNA supports this process. My last advice would be to start in either the last week or the first two weeks of a month. It lessens the time you have between your first day and your first pay-day in the role but this is only significant if you are coming from school or unemployment into the role.
Apprenticeship - Advanced Level (Level 3)
Digital Media & IT