Ryan Scales, Ocado apprentice

by Ryan Scales, Ocado Technology apprentice

 

Former Apprentice of the Year, Ocado Technology’s Ryan Scales, shares the lessons he learned by completing his tech apprenticeship, and advice for prospective apprentices on how to get the most out of the opportunity.

 

1. Think about your future options from the start

You’ll learn a lot about what interests you and what kind of work you like, so it’s good to find an apprenticeship where you can explore different paths.  I chose Ocado Technology because their expanding division has a wide range of positions. I knew I’d meet people in many different teams and that there would be lots of career options once I’d finished.

2. Make the effort to make friends

It can be really daunting being the newbie, but making the effort to talk – even if that takes you outside of your comfort zone – will pay off.The more people you know, the wider the knowledge base you have to draw from. You can learn a lot just chatting over your morning coffee, or you’ll find that when a problem pops up you already know just the person to help solve it.

3. Don’t be scared of not knowing

The trick isn’t having the answer to everything – no one will expect it. The trick is to be proactive about finding things out. Most people are happy to help, so first off, just ask. Remember:

  • Most people will have started their career in a similar position to you; there’s no need to be shy.
  • If you’ve made lots of friends, you won’t feel you always have to go to the same person.
  • Also, look for online blogs and communities where people specialise in your area. Just be careful not to share confidential business info when putting a question online

4. Keep assessing what you’re learning

Think about and get feedback on: what you’re doing well, what your weaknesses are, and what interests you. You can use this information to guide your choices about further courses, or to take advantage of any development opportunities the company may offer.

5. Pay attention to the softer skills

Doing well in a job takes a combination of different skills. Things like time management, communication and professionalism all matter. For example:

  • Prioritise your tasks and the time you allocate to them.
  • Think about how clear you are in emails.
  • Understand how your tone comes across in emails.
  • Be calm and open when people disagree with you.
  • Be kind and respectful to everyone, whatever you feel about them.

These might seem obvious and will become second nature, but can easily be forgotten under pressure. If you feel you need help, there are loads of free tutorials online. LinkedIn is a good place to start looking.

 

Find out more about tech apprenticeships