How an apprenticeship unlocked door to a career change in engineering.
Tiffany Evans was working in a contact centre when she realised she wanted to change career and become an engineer.
The 27-year-old from Neath wanted to learn new skills to advance her career, however she wasn’t sure if she could financially afford to go back to student life.
After conversations with colleagues in the engineering department of her company Tiffany was made aware that she could pursue a career as a telecoms engineer for Openreach through an apprenticeship: meaning she could develop new skills whilst still earning.
Trial and no error
“I knew an apprenticeship would be the right route for me, but I wasn’t sure what the job of an engineer actually involved day-to-day. I had a few conversations with some of the Openreach engineers, as we worked in the same building, and they offered to take me on a trial day so I could see what was involved.
“Seeing the full telecommunications network and the varied work the engineers do meant I could decide if I could see myself doing the job full time. And I could. I really enjoyed it and wanted to learn more, so I started the apprenticeship application process.
After completing online assessments, interviews and attending an assessment day, Tiffany found out she was successful.
“Openreach take on around 3,000 apprentices every year, but it’s still really competitive and I was nervous about what I’d do if I wasn’t successful. I really wanted to seize this opportunity. I found out I’d got a place in August 2018 and started not long after that We spent our time between a training centre near Birmingham and our own local areas. We were put into groups of people from the same area, which was really helpful as we were able to share stories and help each other out. We learned each skill separately: for example, we’d spend a week learning how to work at height at the training centre, then apply that knowledge doing the job at home. This meant we could focus on perfecting each new skill and fully understand how to use it in a real work environment.”
From apprentice to full time employee
Having completed her apprenticeship last year, Tiffany is now working full time as an Openreach telecoms engineer, putting the skills she learned during her apprenticeship in to practice.
“My day-to-day job now involves me visiting customers and fixing faults or improving their broadband capabilities. It's like a puzzle, you have to find the fault in miles and miles of cable but that’s what keeps it interesting - no day is the same. If I had to give advice to anyone it would be to follow your gut and ask questions. I’d never have had this opportunity if I had ignored that niggling feeling that told me my old job wasn’t right for me.”