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My journey from apprentice to Associate Infrastructure Engineer 

Jack Serdiville joined BPDTS in January 2019 working as part of the End User Computing team based out of the Peel Park Hub. Jack's been recognised as a top performer, proactively improving his skills through personal development and mentoring. Jack's learning and development focus paid off. In April, Jack progressed to an Associate Infrastructure Engineer. Find out how job shadowing and mentoring inspired Jack to advance his career.

Meet Jack Serdiville

My name is Jack Serdiville, and I'm an Associate Infrastructure Engineer at BPDTS working in the Application Packaging team. My career started in the education sector, where I was an apprentice IT technician at a secondary school. After finishing my apprenticeship, it was not long before I moved into a Senior IT technician role, managing the school's network and desktop infrastructure, and providing IT services to local feeder schools. It was a big step up in responsibility, and the steep learning curve helped build confidence in my ability.

I worked in the role for several years. In that time, I took the opportunity to study part-time to obtain a foundation degree in Computer Science. Shortly after completing my degree, I started to work for BPDTS in the End User Computing (EUC) team.

An inspiring mentor

While working in the role, I met my mentor, Juma Mwazanzale. Juma is a fantastic mentor who offered great advice about exploring different avenues for my next career move. Our mentorship started with weekly conversations during which we'd discuss different technologies and identify learning courses for me to complete to enhance my capabilities.

Juma provided great insight into the different engineering roles, and our discussions bolstered my career progression. Juma was the perfect mentor for me as he had recently moved from a EUC role into Infrastructure Engineering and shared his experiences around how he made that transition.

Job shadowing

I would often read blogs on the BPDTS intranet posted by Infrastructure Engineers and was inspired by the innovative work and large-scale projects in which they were involved. As part of our mentoring discussions, Juma organised a couple of shadowing days for me in the Manchester hub to see first-hand some of the brilliant work being done by the various engineering teams. The experience gave me a lot of insight into the Infrastructure Engineering roles, and from day one of the shadowing, I knew I wanted to progress into an engineering role. I remember leaving the office after that first day feeling on top of the world and extremely motivated. I could not wait to return the following morning to continue learning about the role's different elements.

Seizing opportunity

After completing the shadowing, I started to look at the different options available and how to progress into engineering. Shortly afterwards, I saw an advertisement for an Associate Infrastructure Engineering role, and I applied for it. Fortunately, I was successful, and I am now working as an Associate Infrastructure Engineer in the Application Packaging team.

My role consists of packaging applications using various methods and technologies to support large scale deployments of applications to the Department for Work and Pensions. One of the main reasons we package applications is to simplify the life of the end-user. We achieve this by shielding them from aspects of the installation they would ordinarily need to interact with, such as licensing information and back-end infrastructure configuration. By capturing these different elements within the application package, we can deploy applications to the end-user silently, meaning no intervention is required. They receive their application already configured for use.

Loving every minute

I've been in the role since April and have loved every minute of it. I had a structured learning plan in place when I started to facilitate my development, and I have been able to upskill quickly because of this. Every day is different; it's challenging and engaging. I've been able to work on some exciting projects and engineered packages deployed to thousands of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) employees that enable them to provide support to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It's gratifying to know that the work we do is making a real difference.

A supportive culture

One of the BPDTS values is Inclusivity, and it's evident that everyone within the organisation buys into this. Everyone I have had the pleasure of working with has been friendly and supportive. There are incredibly knowledgeable and talented people across the organisation. They are always willing to take the time to share that knowledge and provide guidance that contributes to a great working environment.

One of the main things I love about BPDTS is the learning culture. As an engineer, it's essential to keep up to date with digital trends and learn new technologies. BPDTS provides every employee with a platform to reach their potential and achieve their goals. I have access to multiple learning resources such as Pluralsight and Udemy, which allows me to learn about the latest technologies and best practices being used in the industry. BPDTS have also provided funding for me to attend multiple instructor-led courses, including System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM) and PowerShell.

Lockdown; same and different

I have not yet been in the Manchester Hub office since starting in the role and working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting some of the team face-to-face, which has been unusual. However, this situation has not impacted my on-boarding experience or development, and I was made to feel part of the team straight away. As a result of some of the various Engineering teams' innovative work, we have been able to communicate in daily stand-ups and meetings using collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and continue to provide our services remotely by accessing our test and production environments using secure remote access solutions.

If anything, I'm working more efficiently now than I have ever done due to fewer distractions. Not having to commute into an office has enabled me to have a better work-life balance, which has positively affected my productivity.

Is it harder to advance in lockdown?

Working from home hasn't stopped me from learning or hindered my progression. If a person can demonstrate their value, I don't think working from home should prevent them from advancing their career. BPDTS and DWP Digital offer many exciting career opportunities, and it's up to the individual to make the most of them, regardless of where they're working.

I had the opportunity to get a mentor and develop that relationship, which has enabled me to grow as a person both professionally and personally. BPDTS have invested a lot of effort into Mentoring and have created a Mentoring Hub on the BPDTS intranet, which provides guidance on making the most of a mentoring relationship. I'd strongly recommend anyone to look into becoming a mentor or mentee as I believe the relationship can be invaluable.

Based on my mentoring experience, I'm confident I'll become a mentor further down the line. By then, I'll have more time in the role and feel more equipped to help my colleagues progress their careers and grow as individuals.

https://bpdtsinsights.blog.gov.uk/2021/01/13/my-journey-from-apprentice-to-associate-infrastructure-engineer/

seen at 20:50, 13 January in BPDTS Our Insights.
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