Friday 18 September: Due to Storm Eunice SCHOOL WILL BE CLOSED TODAY

Luke Johnson

I currently work in a technical security role for BT at Adastral Park, Ipswich, and therefore, unfortunately, I can’t tell you a lot about what I do……what I can tell you is that I work for a team called ‘Secure Platforms’ where I am delivering IT and network management solutions to some of the largest public sector companies in the UK’s defence, police and central government sectors. Exposure to these sorts of organisations is fantastic and has given me a real insight into how business works.

 I can genuinely say that my preconceptions of BT, as a company I thought of as ageing, dull and behind the times have been challenged considerably over the past six years; I have already had some of the best experiences of my life with the company and I am incredibly excited about the years ahead.  I have worked on several enormous projects, helping to deliver some of the mobile, broadband and sport you enjoy in your homes or out and about on your mobiles and tablets.  A personal highlight, was a four month role, playing (or should I say ‘officially testing’) unreleased mobile phones with our new BT SIM cards!

Training and support has been constant and it has been great not only learning new technical skills but also the softer ones in preparation for people management and communication in general.  Being part of a huge company has had major benefits in terms of my own personal development.  At school, I would never ask a question in class, let alone speak in front of a room full of people. Now I thrive on it; presentations and talks give me a buzz and a rush of adrenaline I never imagined possible and I’m looking forward to returning to Stowupland to talk about careers at BT soon!

Anyway, back to how it all started…

After being unsuccessful in my application to study Medicine after A levels, my immediate plan was to take a gap year and apply again the following year. However, my Dad chanced upon an advert for technical BT Apprenticeships in a local newspaper (excellent pay, membership of a large apprentice and graduate community, role rotation and best of all … a fully paid-for degree).  A keen interest in technology, as well as the opportunity for some extra interview practice, prompted me to apply for the BT Apprenticeship.  I was really intrigued as to what BT could offer, especially as they were launching BT Sport at the time (football being a passion of mine).

 As you can probably tell, I don’t have a ‘romantic’ story as to why I applied, I simply fell into it; however, as clichéd as it sounds – I haven’t looked back since.

I have completed a three-year higher apprenticeship in technical IP Networks, graduating at the BT Tower in London in October 2016. During this time, I achieved a degree at the University of Suffolk and a Level 4 NVQ; I also built up lots of on-the-job training, made numerous contacts and amassed considerable work experience.

 My time at BT has been intense and challenging but also immensely rewarding. As a STEM ambassador, I volunteer some of my work time to local charities, schools or colleges. I have experienced the BT box at Portman Road (tough being a Norwich fan), the top of the BT Tower, travelled the country, visited the BT Sport studios meeting lots of famous stars, represented BT in schools and careers fayres and even hosted an event in front of 200+ people. I have had the chance to make a significant and positive impact in my roles with BT and I know that I want to continue to contribute as much as I can in the future.  The highlight of my apprenticeship though was reaching the BT Challenge Cup final with the Drone Delivery team in Monte Carlo. We flew out on a week long, all-expenses-paid-for trip to showcase our team’s project in front of the most senior BT board members.

 One piece of advice I would give if you are ever interested in applying for an apprenticeship: do the legwork and show initiative – get work experience, attend events held by the recruiting company and make them aware of you before you even apply.  A lot can be said for setting a great first impression.






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