Chipside is a provider of parking and traffic management IT to around a quarter of local and regional government traffic authorities. This means that Chipside works with more than 170 UK local authorities in the UK, delivering smart city initiatives to villages, towns, cities and regions.

We spoke with two current apprentices from their head office in Brinkworth, Wiltshire.

Alex Acton, 18, is nearing completion of his Level 3 IT and Telecommunications apprenticeship.

Can you tell us how your journey began and were you always looking to undertake an apprenticeship?

I finished at Abbeyfield School after completing my GCSE’s, I actually came to Chipside for an interview for a Saturday job in the call center, but I left with confirmation of another interview – as an apprentice! I secured the role after the second interview and started soon after as an IT Technician. I always knew I wanted to work in IT but I hadn’t really considered an apprenticeship.

What are your day to day activities and how does this help you prepare for your career progression?

As a more experienced IT technician (having been at the company nearly two years) I support the staff internally, with IT support and supervising the IT team. I think this helps me to build leadership skills, improve my communication skills and understand the team better. Once I complete this apprenticeship I will be moving onto another apprenticeship at National Trust to improve on my IT skills working to industry standards.

What would your advice be to others who are considering an apprenticeship?

I think the stereotype can be an apprenticeship is for ‘other’ people but that’s completely wrong in my opinion, you are working whilst getting your qualification. Rather than being purely academic where you don’t have the work experience, an apprenticeship breaks you in gently to the working world.

Hannah Telling, 19, is working in another part of the organisation completing Level 3 in Accounting.

I always knew University didn’t appeal to me and actually my year group was split between taking the University route and apprenticeships, so I wasn’t alone in my thinking. I have been working at Chipside for four days a week and attending College in Swindon one day to complete my coursework. Day to day I am processing invoices, inputting data, generating and sending invoices to local authorities. Monitoring client accounts, so there is great variety.

What advice can you give to others considering an apprenticeship?

Don’t believe the stereotypes of apprentices getting the worst jobs around the office, that isn’t true, I have been treated equally and have real tasks to complete even though I have apprentice in my job title.  My Dad was an apprentice and stayed with his employer his whole career therefore I knew there could be real benefits to taking this route, I hope to stay with Chipside once I am qualified.

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