Edinburgh College Foundation Apprentice looking forward to a career in the computing industry

Eighteen-year-old Michael Suttie from Mayfield recently completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in IT Software Development, which he decided to undertake so he could develop his computing skills, and make contacts working in the industry. We spoke to Michael to find out about his apprenticeship, and his plans for the future:

What made you choose a Foundation Apprenticeship?

I decided to do the FA in IT Software Development as a way to further develop my skills in computing, become better connected with those in the industry and get a feel for computing in the working environment.

Did you go on a placement and who was the employer?

I completed my placement with Bright Purple – a recruitment company based in Edinburgh.

What was the best thing about the Foundation Apprenticeship? Any highlights?

The best thing was meeting others with a similar passion for the industry and being able to develop my skills alongside them in the College environment. We were able to support each other more as time went on as well as have the freedom to work more independently as well.

What was the best thing about working while you study?

Being in the work placement and being able to develop my skills in a practical way as well as getting to speak to those with experience in the field. Working and studying at the same time has allowed me to learn and put what I have learned into practice immediately. It has been an enlightening experience that has helped me a lot with the development of my skills and confidence.

What is the best advice you can give to someone thinking of doing a Foundation Apprenticeship?

Absolutely do it, but like everything else, take a little time to make sure it’s the right thing for you. If you do take it, approach it with an open mind and prepare for some rough patches. The FAs are rewarding both in terms of personal development and academic development, but it doesn’t always come easy, especially when you get closer to the crunch time with the final end of course project.

Did you face any challenges before starting that you were worried might prevent you from doing your FA? How did you overcome them?

I didn’t have any real worries going into the FA, but one thing I lacked was confidence, to a degree. The FA has helped me build this by giving me more freedom and responsibility when in College as well as in my work placement. The work placement was where the nerves kicked in more initially but it’s also where I developed quicker.

Do you have any messages for lecturers or the placement employer?

I definitely have my lecturers George and Jorge (wrap your head around that one!) to thank for where I am now in terms of web design capability. Without their support and mentoring I would not have been ready to start my placement at Bright Purple. In terms of Bright Purple, I credit everyone in the office for helping me with my confidence and building my passion for the industry – the  office has a fantastic atmosphere and ethos and the support and feedback has been outstanding.

What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future?

I’m currently enrolled on the HND Software Development Course at the College’s Sighthill Campus. Where I end up after that, whether it be university or work, I’ll need to see closer to the time.

Looking back, if you could do one thing differently what would it be and why?

I definitely would have gone about my final project differently. If I’ve taken anything from this project it’s that you need to take control of what you want to do if you want results. It’s a bit like the ‘if you want something done, do it yourself’ mentality. If you don’t make the push then nobody will – just get it done!

What are you most proud of that you have achieved while doing your FA?

I’m most proud of my development as a person. In terms of confidence and personality the FA has helped me so much – I’m much more outgoing and willing to speak in front of people than I was before. Even just in normal situations I feel like my social skills have improved as a result of my time in College and the working environment.