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Recruitment: the next generation


Who would have thought that some 18 years after the inception and resounding success of Focus Group, we would be welcoming the next generation of our employees into the fold?! As we look to the future, we hear from some of our current apprentices- the next generation of leaders in digital transformation and technological innovation.

Sonia Older

By Sonia Older
Campaign Executive
09 Feb 2022, UK

Meet our apprentices

Name: Cameron Balfour

Start date: 04/03/12

Role: IT Projects Lead

Cameron

How did you find out about Focus?

My nan found an article for an apprenticeship scheme (tempus training) in a newspaper who subsequently found me the apprenticeship at Focus.

Can you talk us through your career with Focus?

I’ve worked in a number of roles for Focus over the last ten years. The first of which was on the IT service desk for approximately 3 years, I then proceeded into an IT field engineering role for another three years by the end of which I had progressed to being a senior engineer and then onto being Focus’s IT Technical Lead responsible for delivering Focus’s largest IT projects from a technical perspective. Eventually the decision was made for me to become office based due to the demand for large IT projects which I was solely responsible for around a year before the IT projects team was formed around me and I was promoted to IT Projects Lead due to the growth of the business and demand for our services. Since the beginning of 2021 I have been leading more enterprise level projects for well-known high-street brands such as FatFace, B&M and Leaders Romans Group.

What’s the best thing about working for Focus?

Room to grow, Focus has always been a fantastic place to learn and grow as an individual. Management have always been very supportive of me since day one which has allowed me to learn the skills that I need at a fast pace whilst still delivering a quality service. Having been at Focus since a time when the business was much smaller than it is today, I have also had the opportunity to grow alongside the business as well as some of the other Focus veterans out there!

Is there is a manager you aspire too in the business?

Yes, Dave Bennett. When I first joined the business, Dave was a field engineer who I often worked closely with for installs during the week and at weekends. He has since risen to the position of Head of IT Technical and has been my line manager for the majority of my time at Focus. Dave has always been an excellent leader and teacher both for myself and my colleagues.

One piece of advice to anybody thinking of starting an apprenticeship?

Do it! My personal opinion on this subject is that it is the best way to get real life practical experience as quickly as possible. I myself do not hold any university degrees as I am not a very academic individual however feel that the decision to opt for an apprenticeship is what has allowed me to get ahead in my career.

Name: Adam Stewart

Start date: 05/09/18

Role: Apprentice Telecoms Engineer

Adam

Why did you decide to become an apprentice?

While in school I always knew that I wanted to do a practical job and get a trade and I was fortunate enough that when I left school Resource Telecom were looking to take on an apprentice and fortunately enough for myself, I applied and was successful in the process. I felt that for myself an apprenticeship was the best route to go down as I am a practical learner and learning while earning really appealed to me.

What do you enjoy most about being an apprentice?

The things I enjoy most about being an apprentice is the ability to learn while I earn and improve my skills and knowledge while working with individuals who have a vast amount of experience. I like the freedom I have, to work with multiple engineers and experience different methods of work to achieve the same end goal and find what works best for myself. I also enjoy the customer interaction side of my role where I interact with a number of different customers on a day-to-day basis and experience the different faults that may occur and use the knowledge and skills I have gained to get to the bottom and resolve any issues customers may face.

What are some of the main things you have learned?

During my time with the company, I have gained a huge variety of skills from programming to fault finding and I have had the opportunities to use and improve on what I have learned on-site and, in the office, to improve both the customers experience and my own. I have also been learning a different side to my role recently using my already gained knowledge to the best of my abilities, allowing me to branch out and aid other departments within the company, all while providing the best experience we can for the end customer.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years, I hope to be either a fully qualified field engineer or a fully qualified desk engineer running remote install projects to provide the customer as smooth a process from start to finish as I possibly can. I also intend to continue to improve my skills and knowledge in the hope that one day I can pass it on the same way the engineers I work closely with have been able to pass on their knowledge to myself.

If you could say anything to future apprentices who are thinking about choosing this path, what would you say?

100% go for it, if you have the opportunity jump at it with both feet, keep an open mind, and be willing to work hard and try something new.

Name: Sonny Love

Start date: 01/10/20

Role: Apprentice Service Delivery Desk Engineer

Sonny Love

Why did you decide to become an apprentice?

My dad worked in telecommunications for nearly 20 years, and he works at Focus Group as a technical specialist. I had always wanted to work in the telecoms industry as I heard so much about Focus Group and its culture. It is an industry that is constantly evolving, and Focus have great opportunities for a further career path.

Why did you decide an apprenticeship would be a good place for you to begin you career?

The apprenticeship at Focus Group has given me the best steppingstone to start my career in Telecommunications. This will give me a much better understanding of the industry and the technology around it.

What are you studying at college and how will these skills help you in your role?

On my course so far I’ve learnt about networking fundamentals/ Operating Systems/Virtual Environments/ LANS/ WANS/ WIFI/ CMD. This has helped me amazingly. As this gives me a much greater understanding what I am doing and why.

This really helps me understand my job when dealing with faults live in my role. As I am installing over the phone it gives me an understand of the fundamentals as it gets put together on site. The client is my eyes and I must envision what they are explaining and piece it all together.

What do you enjoy most about your job and working for Focus Group?

I love working with my team and enjoy speaking to different customers daily. This is helping them setup their sites and this gives me a real sense of achievement each time I complete a job. Focus Group have really made me feel welcome sine the day I started.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I aspire to learn and receive a greater knowledge and understanding of what I do. I look to learn other products that focus supply and support so I can assist further and greater comprehension. I am looking to learn to drive as soon as I can but has been very difficult now for obvious reasons. I hope to excel in my apprenticeship, so I am further employed at Focus Group.