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Apprentice Ben goes from Chef to IT Technician

Blog

7 February 2023

“If you really want something, you should chase it and do whatever you need to do.”

At Kids Planet, we value our people. We recognise hard work, and provide career progression, training, and support to everyone. That’s why if someone has an interest or a passion, we work together to explore how we can make that dream a reality.

This National Apprenticeship Week, we sat down with Ben Pay, who is currently working within our small, friendly and skilled IT team at our Head Office in Lymm.

Ben is currently studying an apprenticeship IT course whilst working hard at Kids Planet, yet he was previously a chef at our Fulwood nursery. Being in his 30’s but wanting to chase his passion, Ben took the plunge to embark on his new career, and we delve deeper into his journey:

What is your background in terms of education and interests?

In school, I was interested in art and becoming a graphic designer and book illustrator. I got a national diploma in Graphic Design, 3D design and fine art, and really enjoyed it, but I wanted to get into work and fell into catering. Then that became a love for cooking and I made my way up in companies with cooking – which I did for twelve wonderful years! I still love drawing as a hobby, and cooking, but I’ve always had an interest in IT. I wanted a change and to do something in technology, and I realised I’m not getting any younger so the time to do it is now!

How did you approach changing your role from chef to IT technician?

When I was a chef, the internal training team would often come to the nurseries to train staff and managers, and I would get talking to them and cook for them during the visit. I spoke to them about my ambitions and interests within IT, and they immediately got the ball rolling with me. I was put in touch with the IT Manager, and soon was interviewing. Once I’d had a successful interview even more doors were opened as Kids Planet put me onto an apprenticeship to truly get to grips with IT fundamentals.

Did you find age was a barrier?

When you get to your 30’s, you sort of see yourself as in your career already or that you should be. However when you drop out of something to do something new, it’s exciting and a challenge and I saw it as a positive move. Initially I was worried about being an apprentice at my stage in life and taking a slight pay cut, but I am thinking long-term and I know that this is worth it.

What does your role in the IT team entail?

I love our team – we work very together well in such a busy, fast paced environment. I can be doing different things each day in my role is IT Technician/Support Engineer; I look after the asset list in terms of the upkeep and updates regarding devices, equipment and information. I perform administration tasks and keep everything up to date, man the help desk dealing with people’s requests such as printer set ups and internet going down, and so on!

What does your apprenticeship entail?

I tend to have a Friday studying, as well as some study outside of normal working hours, but luckily I am enjoying the course with Skills Connect. The foundation apprenticeship is teaching me all about IT networking and security concepts.

There are tutors who are supportive if you are struggling. It’s important to set a routine for yourself in terms of when you will study and work, and be transparent and open about capabilities, deadlines and so on. I’m so far finding it manageable and being close with my manager is helpful for that.

How do you see your progression with Kids Planet?

I have quarterly reviews and gain valuable feedback, getting set goals to work towards to improve in my role. I’m open about my long term goal within Kids Planet, which is to get into cloud engineering, and I hope to stay at Kids Planet for a long time to come as I am confident I can meet my goals here.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others considering one?

If you really want something, you should chase it and do whatever you need to do. I would recommend an apprenticeship for someone starting out in a new career. It lays down the foundation for what you will be doing and opens doors to great career paths. Receiving support from a company in this way means you are on the job learning and improving whilst getting paid. I feel lucky to be doing this with Kids Planet, who have made it possible and made me feel so welcome.

Kids Planet Training Academy

As well as our internal training team, Kids Planet has our own dedicated Training Academy to support you through your apprenticeship/further qualifications. Education, training and the continual professional development of staff is a crucial priority at Kids Planet. In February 2018, due to a growth in the number of settings, an increase in personnel, the need to recruit new staff plus the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, we decided to develop our internal approach to the delivery of accredited programmes. These include Apprenticeships in Early Years, sector-specific courses and Higher Education courses.

How do I find out about career opportunities?

You can view our latest vacancies here: https://www.indeed.co.uk/Kids-Planet-Day-Nurseries-jobs.

We are always looking for enthusiastic and passionate people to join our Kids Planet family. We pride ourselves on valuing our employees and recognising hard work, providing progression, training and support throughout your career with us.

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