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From engineering apprentice to operations manager

09 May 2017
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Appentice to manager
Bethany, one of our Engineering Apprentices and the face of BT’s annual report in 2016, has recently been promoted to a Civil Operations Manager in a newly created role. Here, she tells us why she chose an Engineering Apprenticeship and how it helped her have the confidence to apply for her well-deserved promotion.

What did you do before working for us?
I took my A levels at school; apprenticeships weren’t really promoted at that time. I decide not to go into further education and gained a job in accounts at a printing company. I felt the role didn’t challenge me and wanted a career which involved people, include my love of science and a more physical, outside role.

Tell us about your role?
My new role as a Civil Operations Manager is looking after and maintaining the underground part of the network, which has been brought in-house, in an area covering the Scottish Borders to Leeds, Grimsby, and Rotherham. I look after 11 civil engineering gangs, and growing. It’s mad how your life changes completely to a different path. I’ve gone from climbing telegraph poles to looking after a team of 23 people. My responsibilities now are colossal, compared to my previous role. Because it’s new, it’s daunting, but anything worth doing is not easy. You’ve just got to take each day as it comes and crack on with it.

What did you learn through the apprenticeship?
As an apprentice I was given the opportunity to develop my skills and push myself, which prompted me to apply for the [Manager's] role. I achieved the highest marks at the interview and was awarded the role. It also meant I had to cram five months’ of apprentice NVQ work into four weeks. I literally had no life for a month. I just grafted.

What surprised you most?
As an apprentice, I was really impressed with how supportive my fellow engineers were in my future career choices.

What are your plans for your career?
I want to feel confident in my new role, learn new skills and get my feet under the table, before thinking too far ahead.

What advice would you give someone considering an apprenticeship?
If you feel you have the right attributes then just go for it! You’ve got to take chances. You only get one life and you can’t live it regretting things.