Monday 6 February – Sunday 12 February 2023 is National Apprenticeship Week, a week where we celebrate all apprentices, and raise awareness of the importance they bring to the workplace.
Here at Cobalt, we currently have three fantastic apprentices who are all studying and learning different skills that are contributing to the day-to-day running of the medical charity. They are Harry Davis, Property Maintenance Apprentice, Christian Jerome, HR Apprentice, and Struan Royston, IT Network Apprentice. We caught up with each of them to find out more about their jobs, and why choosing an apprenticeship was the best way for them to kick-start their careers. Here’s what we asked and what we learnt:
Why did you decide to pursue an apprenticeship?
Christian: I decided to take the apprenticeship route instead of going to university because I believe the best way to learn is by actually doing the work, not just sitting down and reading from a textbook with hypothetical situations.
Harry: I decided to pursue this apprenticeship so I could create a career path for myself going forward at Cobalt. By this, I mean advancing my practical skillset in and out of the workplace, and learning how to use certain tools and specialist equipment. In addition to this, I had personally had enough of education and wanted to start working so this apprenticeship was perfect for me.
Struan: When the pandemic came around I really struggled to learn over Zoom and Teams lectures. I started looking for an apprenticeship after my second year of university because I wanted to keep working towards my education whilst also developing a professional career, and having the income means I can also support myself without having to find other forms of employment. Whilst on my apprenticeship I am gaining real-world experience and the qualifications and experience from this will be an invaluable addition to my CV.
What attracted you to Cobalt?
Christian: I was attracted to Cobalt because of its values and reputation. The charity is all about patient care and providing the best possible imaging services using state-of-the-art technology. I am proud to be a part of the current growth and expansion and the future of the charity looks really exciting.
Harry: My dad has worked alongside Cobalt as a contractor for many years, so I have always known about the charity and its long-term goals. Over the years, Cobalt has grown and expanded as a medical charity, which of course creates a wider range of opportunities and job roles. This position will allow me to develop my career further and gather a lot more hands-on work experience.
Struan: What really stood out to me about Cobalt was that it is in the medical industry and that it is also a charity which I really admired. I immediately thought that my role within Cobalt would have a positive outcome because it’s helping someone, not just members of staff but patients also. I was also interested in the clinical side of Cobalt and being able to work with some of the scanners and mobile units stood out to me.
What new skills have you developed during your time with Cobalt?
Christian: During my time at Cobalt I have learnt how to structure and write emails, and communicate information and answer queries in a professional manner.
Harry: Throughout my time at Cobalt, I’ve been able to develop my practical skillset by completing a wide variety of different jobs involving plumbing, electrical and general maintenance works. Because of this, I have better task management when it comes to carrying out jobs.
Struan: I have learned a lot during my time here but a few to note are the use of windows admin tools like active directory, the use of 365 tools like Azure, making custom ethernet cables for different projects and server management.
How would you describe a typical working day – what kind of work are you currently doing?
Christian: I don’t have a typical day at Cobalt, no two days are the same. One day I can be helping a colleague with a HR query and the next I can be chasing references for pre-employment checks. This keeps me on my toes because I don’t know what I may end up doing, I could come into the office with a checklist for the day and one email can change my whole plan.
Harry: When carrying out work as part of the Estates team here at Cobalt we get a variety of planned and reactive maintenance. Planned relates to work that’s scheduled in advance, therefore an example of this would be our audit schedule where we have a list of works that need to be completed each week such as testing fire alarms, emergency lighting and monitoring oxygen and humidity levels in our scanner rooms. Reactive maintenance is a job that isn’t planned in advance but needs to be treated quickly examples of this could be a water leak.
Struan: My typical day consists of answering technical support tickets and fixing IT issues as well as managing our server room to ensure it’s working at its best. I am currently working on a profile migration project to move our user data to OneDrive so that users can access their data away from the office.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Christian: What I love the most about my job and working in HR is the changing and growing environment. From compliance with new laws and legislation to using new technology and using new software, I learn something new every day. I also find it really interesting how politics has such a huge impact on working for a company.
Harry: I enjoy my Job as it’s different types of work every day and I get to meet a wide range of contractors that work on-site.
Struan: The part I enjoy the most about my job (other than the techy bits) is the colleagues I get to speak to and work with when I’m called for IT support. I enjoy conversation and communicating/showing users what I do to solve their issues.