Name: Michal Kotlowski
Qualification: Level 3 ICT PROCOM Apprenticeship
Michal Kotlowski Ward Security IT PROCOM Apprentice

Michal at 28 years old, is currently completing his Level 3 ICT PROCOM Apprenticeship at Ward Security, a national provider of security services and since starting in July 2018 has won the ‘New Starter of the Year Award’ at the Companies Annual Award Ceremony that took place in January, keep reading for more information about his Apprenticeship Journey so far…

“I’ve always been interested in a career within a technical line of work. I attended a high school in my native country of Poland that was Technical related and have worked in offices, but moving around I had worked mostly in hospitality, running bars and restaurants, so when I took a break from work, I decided to try and get into the career and field of work I wanted and an Apprenticeship seemed to be the best option for me, as I wanted to become an expert in the field and improve my skills. It can be difficult moving to and living in an unfamiliar environment with a different language, but it looked to be the best way for me to enhance my skills and earn a wage whilst gaining a qualification. I went on the Find an Apprenticeship Website and starting looking for opportunities within a technical field, eventually coming across the Apprenticeship for Ward Security and was thankfully successful in my application.”

Michal is now a now an IT Admin Support Apprentice, part of the Business Service team at Ward Security, that includes the IT department and is part of the 1st line of IT support for the whole company; which includes 900 plus staff across over 200 sites, with a large quantity of technical equipment. As well as working through his Apprenticeship, Michal has also taken it upon himself, with great dedication to the role, to become competent in a range of different vendor-specific qualifications and is working towards becoming a CISCO Certificated Associate, among other things. His employer has also given him the further opportunity for progression with a CCTV licensed qualification that is industry-specific and a great skill set to have in his line of work, that allows Michal to maintain and monitor the CCTV Systems.

“I’m enjoying the fact I can learn a new set of skills every day and no two days are the same. I went to college for a couple of months before joining starting this Apprenticeship and wish I did this sooner. A couple of months in college wasn’t comparable to a couple of days working here, as I’m working with experienced people in the real world, implementing and resolving issues on systems that are in place and working, rather than studying and being more theoretical based. I am 28 years old and I’m glad that Apprenticeships are for all ages, as I regret not doing this sooner, it’s so powerful working in this environment and learning on the job and from a financial benefit, I can earn as I learn rather than trying to get a qualification and creating debt.

I enjoy investigating how to fix issues and fixing them and have a very supportive environment and very supportive mentors in my Manager at Ward Security, Rav and my IPS Trainer, Jay. It’s great my Apprenticeship is flexible around my workload and when I was struggling with one of my units on project management, Jay was promptly on hand offering help by phone or email, before one of our visits. Also, due to the excellent management I receive from Ward Security, I have a good balance for my work, Apprenticeship and own personal life, so I have excellent training support and experience from IPS, but also great experienced support through Ward Security.

My Apprenticeship has also helped my life skills and even though I had an NVQ in Customer Service from my work hospitality, it’s a different level here and it’s enhanced my skill set even further. My computer skills have improved, there were things I thought I knew before but my knowledge was very theoretical and now I feel like I have a more experienced and in-depth knowledge. We recently moved offices and I learned a lot more about some technical aspects; from structure, network design and the back-end storage, setting up firewalls and wireless networks and managing the guest network, as well as some non-technical aspects like risk assessments and contract agreements. It’s also helped me improve in my working mindset, as I was naive at the beginning, thinking I could fix everything for anyone at any time, but working with the experts in the field like Rav showed me it’s not feasible to help everyone at the same time and I have learned to prioritize my workload more efficiently.”

Rav Singh, the Systems Support Analyst and Michal’s Manager, also added that Michal’s Apprenticeship has improved the company as he has helped the IT Team to run a smoother support service for the company.

“Michal 100% has improved the team, we had another Apprentice before Michal who unfortunately didn’t work out, but we decided to continue the Apprenticeship route. We are so pleased we did, as it was so successful. I was happy that the IPS Trainer, Jay, chose units that would benefit Michal, but that were also relevant for his work here at Ward Security, like it was custom made for us. We couldn’t have done the relocation project of the offices without Michal and he has exceeded all our expectations for an Apprentice. There are tasks that I did in the past and that Michal has now taken on and he has become the first point of call for all staff. Even when he has his daily workload and Apprenticeship work, he still offers to help out.  The big test was when I took annual leave. Michal coped exceptionally well and that gave me absolute trust and confidence in his ability.”

After less than a year working for Ward Security, Michal’s hard work and determination stood out so much he won the ‘New Starter of the Year Award’ in January at the 14th Ward Security Star Annual Employee Awards evening. This is an event Ward Security hold for their employees, to recognise employee excellence and thank those individuals who go above and beyond their daily duties.

“The appreciation I have received here at Ward Security has been better than the 6 years I worked in hospitality. I’m hoping to successfully complete my Apprenticeship in good time and as I’m enjoying it so much, I have done additional topics relevant to the company’s needs.

My career goal would be to hopefully further progress here at Ward Security, expand my knowledge and increase my workload. I would highly recommend Apprenticeships to anyone of any age, as it gives you the opportunity to learn and work in a professional environment, all whilst getting a qualification, adding massive value to you and the company.”

From a manager perspective, Rav also explains the benefits of Apprenticeships.

“The Apprenticeship system is excellent; it gives you raw resources to mould and mentor an employee in the way you want. As well as Michal, we have an Apprentice in Payroll and I believe our Operational Administration Team are also considering recruiting another. As a company, we are invested in the Apprenticeship system, as it benefits us in gaining another resource, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for the individual, as they are gaining the necessary skills, knowledge and a qualification at the same time.”

IPS would like to wish Michal all the best in his Apprenticeship and other qualifications.

 

 

 

 

 

Would like to find out more about IT Apprenticeships with IPS?