Unsure about his career path, Chris from Brighton first started working in catering but his interest in tech took over when he got the opportunity to join Orbis IT & Digital as a Digital Degree Apprentice. Hear from Chris about his experience and the benefits of this new route into a tech career, combining work experience and an employer-accredited degree from the Tech Partnership.
Chris Bubloz works as a Tech Partnership accredited Digital Degree Apprentice with Orbis IT & Digital, studying with BPP University. Chris currently works in the ICT Schools & Traded Services team at Brighton & Hove City Council.
What qualifications did you have when you left school?
I completed my GCSEs at Shoreham College, where I passed ICT, Maths, English, History, PE and Dual Science.
What did you do immediately after leaving school?
I went to Varndean College where I completed a BTEC in Business and an A level in ICT; whilst I was there I also studied for a Sports BTEC and Further Maths. I also worked in college as a cleaner after college hours were over.
Did you do A levels or another FE course?
I completed an A level in ICT and a BTEC in Business. Also, since then I have completed 3 apprenticeships: Level 2 Catering, and level 3 Catering Management, and most recently, Level 2 ICT Professionalism.
How did you get interested in working in an IT/Digital environment?
I had always been interested in IT as it is the subject I excelled most at in school; my mother was the head of IT in a sixth form college and my father has a background in electronics – so we’re quite a techy family.
What jobs/careers did you have previously and what made you want to change?
Immediately prior to starting my first ICT apprenticeship, I was a caterer in the canteen (operated by a third party) at Brighton & Hove City Council. I was made redundant when the building I worked in was closed.
Did your parents or siblings go to university and/or were you encouraged to go?
My mother and sister completed university and my father attended technical college when he was younger. I had many conversations with my mother about whether full time university would be right for me. Initially I decided that Higher Education wasn’t for me as at the time I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.
How did you first become aware of apprenticeship opportunities in IT & Digital at the Council?
Some of my regular customers in the canteen were my current team mates, who told me about the apprenticeships the council was offering, and I thought this could be my way in to a new career. Two of the opportunities were in the ICT Schools & Traded Services team; as soon as I heard about it I knew that this is something that I was really interested in and wanted to do.
What are the best bits of your current job, what sort of support do you get, and what do you think you’ve learnt or been able to achieve that you wouldn’t have if you’d gone straight to university?
The best bits are the team in general. I thought when I initially joined the team that I knew a reasonable amount about ICT, but how wrong was I! With the help of all the members of the team I got into the swing of things very quickly and have learnt an awful lot in what is a still a very short amount of time. If you were to ask me to find an IP using DHCP and check if a user was still logged in when I first joined, I would probably have run away; but now it’s almost second nature to me.
What’s your experience of the Digital & Technology Degree apprenticeship so far?
It has been fantastic overall. I feel very supported by my team and I know that if I ever get stuck with things I can always ask a team mate.
What are your ultimate career interests/ambitions?
I would like to become a full-time technician or consultant in the ICT Schools & Traded Services team, as I enjoy it so much and will strive to stay working here!
What would you say to someone considering doing a Digital & Technology apprenticeship?
Definitely consider doing it. If you’re interested in IT, it’s the best way to find out if this is the right career for you. The benefits are huge: you can get great workplace experience and also a qualification. There are many jobs these days which ask for a qualification plus x years’ work experience. I have many friends who have now completed degrees but don’t have any working experience, and compared to them I feel in a very good position to build my future career!
The employer-led, not-for-profit organisation ‘Tech Partnership Degrees‘ is taking forward the Higher Education work of the Tech Partnership, which is closing in September 2018. This includes the industry-accredited Tech Industry Gold degrees – IT Management for Business (ITMB) and Software Engineering for Business (SEfB) – and the Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeships.