You learn so much along the way. I came in with no experience - I’d never studied Engineering at school - and now I look back and I’m amazed by what I’ve picked up; things like learning to wire complex systems. Everyone is so ready to help you too: so many people here started as apprentices themselves, so they’re really very understanding. Now I help the new apprentices too, helping them learn, and reassuring them that everything comes with practice.
"Everyone is so ready to help you too: so many people here started as apprentices themselves, so they’re really very understanding."
Today, I work as a Technical Installer, putting in the new security systems for government buildings like embassies and high commissions. I can be installing those systems anywhere in the world - that’s the amazing thing - and I might be doing all sorts of work too. One trip, I’ll be doing CCTV, and another time, it’ll be radio installation work, or updating an access control system.
I know I’m protecting people in what I do. When people go to embassies because they’ve lost their passport or they need a visa, we’ve helped ensure that the building they visit is protected; that the place where they’re sharing their vital information is safe; that the locks and security work; that government staff and visitors can go about their day-to-day lives safely. It feels like we’re doing something big as a team.
There are so many groups and societies too to encourage you to meet your wider team. I’m part of a coffee club where you just sign up and get matched to a random colleague once a month. It means, rather than just speaking to people in your own team, you get to speak to everyone. I’ve met someone in IT, for instance, which completely fascinates me. I think it’s a great initiative that helps us all build better relationships.
"I was blown away by my time in New York and Switzerland, but it was just as much about the team as the location."
The people are so important to your experience here, honestly. I travel a lot with my role, but if I was to think of my favourite places, it’s just as much about the people I’ve been with as the places themselves. I was blown away by my time in New York and Switzerland, but it was just as much about the team as the location. You can start the trip not knowing each other, but you work together and you spend your free time together, so by the time you come home, you’re a really tight-knit group.
People just support each other. I remember the first time I had to travel, it seemed like there were a lot of details to think about. Getting your jabs. Getting health certificates. I’d never filled out a visa form before – how would I do that? So, I went to a colleague who organises travel, and she took one look at my face and said, okay, let’s do it together. You need nice people like that – and they’re everywhere here."
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