To mark the 10th Annual Apprenticeship week the Department is celebrating and acknowledging the positive impact that our apprentices have on the workplace. At present there are 4 active apprentices within Engineering Science and thankfully we have been able to retain a number of our previous apprentices who continue to develop their skills and make excellent contributions within new roles in the Department.
One of our current apprentices is Chris Bridges. He joined the Department back in April 2016 and is undertaking a two year Apprenticeship in IT. Chris has provided us with a brief insight into what his role as an Apprentice Service Desk Administration Assistant entails:
My areas of responsibility include Audio Visual (AV) checks, AV Support, IT Consumables, a good deal of the IT related ordering and PO creation and also supporting the wider teams activities.
AV checks tend to take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and involve checking all AV enabled rooms and checking that everything is working as it should be. This includes, SMART displays, PCs, microphones, amps, crestron controller units, projectors and their screens, visualisers and other pieces.
On the purchasing side I am required to ensure that orders are inputted precisely and accurately. I have to talk to the end user and make sure that their needs are met and liaise with suppliers to negotiate prices and ensure that goods are received in a timely fashion. I’m also responsible for purchasing and managing all licenses owned and run by the IT team.
Managing the consumables means keeping records of how many items (wires, PC docks, memory sticks and the like) we have in stock and making sure that any purchases that are made are paid back to department IT. I track and put all IT spending into spreadsheets so that we can accurately track the money that we're spending and to try and keep these expenditures on track.
In addition to these tasks, I also support the IT helpdesk. This includes urgent calls like setting up a PA system for the Minister for Defence who delivered a talk in the IEB just the other day.
In completing all of the above duties I am required to liaise with the wider IT team, support staff, academics, external stakeholders and in some instances students.
Kathryn Scott joined the Department back in 2012 when she was appointed to a two year Business Administration Apprentice role based at the Southwell Lab. She obtained her level 2 qualification initially and then progressed to level 3 in her second year of employment.
Kathryn’s hard work and excellence was recognised further afield when she received the Apprentice of the Year accolade at the University wide awards ceremony. After completing her Apprenticeship Kathryn took up an Administrative Assistant role at Southwell and took on responsibility for a wide range of tasks from raising purchase orders to co-ordinating travel arrangements for academics.
In search of a new challenge Kathryn applied and was appointed to a Financial Administrator role in September 2016. She now supports academics, producing monthly financial reports for research projects and reporting on spending. The role has also given her the opportunity to study once again and she is currently undertaking her accountancy qualifications at Abingdon & Witney College.
Kathryn Scott: “This Apprenticeship has given me such great opportunities and a chance to progress in my career.”
Jon Harding joined the Department back in 2007 as an Electrical Apprentice. Alongside his work he undertook a BTEC National Certificate in Operations and Maintenance which formed part of his Advanced Apprenticeship in Electrical Engineering.
Jon was in fact the first apprentice within Engineering Science to qualify under the Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme. On completion of his Apprenticeship he was appointed to an Electrical Technician role at the Southwell Lab where he was involved in reinstalling high speed linear cascade and wind tunnel test rigs.
Jon continued to progress within the Department and moved back to the Keble Road site in 2011 when he was appointed to the role of Principal Technician. This was followed by a stint as the Maintenance Team manager. He now finds himself in the role of Project Manager (Buildings and Maintenance Projects) in which he is required to liaise with academics, support staff, Estates services and external contractors to ensure continuous improvement in the management and performance of the Department’s buildings and equipment. This ranges from lab refits to office alterations.
He is currently in the final year of an MSc in Construction Project Management at Oxford Brookes University.
Jon Harding “Career progression and support for further training by the department has also been a large factor why I have stayed so long. Also working with researchers to create new labs to their requirements provides me with many challenges helping me to learn new skills and regulations regularly.”
If you haven’t seen it already, University of Oxford Apprenticeships featured not only on the front cover of Blueprint, but on pages 6 & 9. Please take a look for more information on Apprenticeships, you can also contact Adam Philip in the HR Office.