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National Apprenticeship Week: Interview with Apprentice Jake Ryan

Lauren Adams   —   18 March 2016   —   Access News

National Apprenticeship Week: Interview with Apprentice Jake Ryan

It’s National Apprenticeship Week and to celebrate the incredible pool of talent the UK has, we wanted to share our own apprentice’s experience of working at Access. Jake Ryan has been working as a Drupal apprentice with us since January. We asked him about his experiences as an apprentice and how its helped him to start on the career path he loves.

How did you hear about the opportunity for your apprenticeship? 

After applying to nearly every Manchester ICT job on multiple job sites, I changed my search tactic and discovered web development. I then followed up with some reading and became invested in the idea.

What’s been your biggest challenge during your apprenticeship?

Trying to be as organised as possible can be a struggle – particularly when trying to navigate public transport timings.

What kind of tasks do you complete on a daily basis?

I spend a lot of time carrying out data entry. I also spend a lot of time every day reading blog posts to try and get a better understanding of everything people around me are doing and saying.

These are some of the sites I look at:

Hash Bang Code - Our Technical Lead’s site. An incredible amount of resources

Drupal - Drupal functions and syntax guidelines

Drupal Documentation - Drupal’s own guides and explanations

Drupal Stack Exchange - Questions/issues community forum

Where do you think your interest in web development comes from?

I’ve always been a computer nerd, gaming and building powerful computers before my teens. Then I went on to do a college-computing course. Whilst I enjoyed the programming side of the course, it was short lived - the course piled stacks and stacks of paperwork into the learning, which made it less great.  

The ONE lesson I had on HTML got me very interested, and just from that I could see how basic websites were made and how the internet, which I use every day of my life, is presented to me.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship instead of going to University?

I was planning on going to University because I wanted to get away from my parents and experience the University life. I came to the decision that the huge debt wasn’t worth it. So I wanted to earn and learn and move out 5-6 months later.

Are any of your friends also studying on apprenticeships? What are they studying?

I have a friend who is doing a Social Media Apprenticeship and another who is doing a Business Administration Apprenticeship. I also have another friend who is looking for an apprenticeship, somewhere in the IT industry.

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week is ‘an apprenticeship can take you anywhere’. What do you hope to be doing in five years time?

After taking part in the tasks of the development department I really enjoy watching how new projects are built. It’s interesting watching a wireframe and design turn into a fully functional site. I intend to be working in this industry for the foreseeable future, and hopefully have some websites with my personal work on them soon!

Any advice for people looking to do an apprenticeship in your field?

The amount of resources that you can use to learn about web development is astonishing. Use them.

These are some of the resources that I’d recommend:

Code Academy - Lesson based learning resource, covers HTML, CSS, php, JavaScript, Git, Command-line, MySQL… and more.

3 Schools - Great syntax resource, many examples for HTML and CSS

Themery - Really great space for theme guides to Drupal

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned working at Access?

When you’re stuck, ask for help. Don’t wait to complete a task when asking about it would be faster, and then next time you can do it yourself.

Would you recommend the apprenticeship scheme to anyone else? 

Yes, definitely. I found mine by finding an online advert that talked about an intensive two-week course, which was perfect for me. The boot camps at Happy taught me how to handle interviews, which was a big help. However, it was possible to apply online for free. The apprenticeship environment is much better than previous environments like school or college. Even though my apprenticeship is Drupal specific, the amount I’ve learnt is astonishing. I’m hoping my experience at Access will take me much further than my qualification.

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