Charlotte Smith - IT Apprentice at RSPB
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What does a day in the life look like in your role?
My day to day role is mainly answering phone calls and dealing with requests that we get on our user blog and self-service system. I’m also partially managing things now. I have a line report and I try to help organise things to make sure that we are giving the best service that we can.
Since I started my apprenticeship, I’m more confident within my role and feel more comfortable sharing things with the team and taking charge.
What has your experience with Baltic Apprenticeships been like so far?
It has been really positive so far! I really like that when you hand your work in you always get feedback. Even if you have passed the course with high marks, you will still get the feedback to say what you did well and what you didn’t do as well in. This means you always know what to improve to do the work at an even higher standard. The programme has helped me get experience in many different areas of IT.
How was your experience with our online training?
I find it helpful with the way that we work with Smart Classroom, because we are quite low on numbers in our team. The training is booked out with Baltic so I know when I’m going to do it and how long for. I can then organise to do the training from home which means I can really concentrate on it without distractions. It’s really improved how I’ve seen apprenticeships.
What first attracted you to the IT Industry?
First of all, I struggled finding what I wanted to do at school. Most girls were going for art subjects, but I didn’t enjoy music and hated drama, so I didn’t really know where to go. The only other option that fitted was a further course in ICT. I did a module where we had to make a game and I really enjoyed it, so when I finished my GCSEs, I decided to do double IT at A Level. I really enjoyed that too and it was the only subject that I felt I could progress in and make a career out of.
I decided to look into Uni programmes, but then I thought that I would do an IT apprenticeship to build up my experience in the workplace, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to stay.
Do you think it’s important to get more women into the IT industry and, if so, why?
I definitely think it’s important. In our department there’s hundreds of males and we have around 50 females, which is a really low ratio. Within the team I’m in, it’s all boys, which can be quite overwhelming at times because they don’t feel the need to listen to me as much as they would another guy. It’s nice to have more females so you can feel more comfortable and confident to take a stand.
I think there is a lack of female role models in IT. When I was at school, all of the IT teachers were male, and then going into the world of work, I only had one female IT manager. She worked really hard and everyone was happy to work with her, so I looked up to her.
What advice would you give to a young woman interested in a career in tech?
Although there are IT courses that are compulsory at school, they aren’t that great as they just go through the basics. I would advise any girls who are unsure to do IT at an additional level if they can. I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship route!