Learn about apprenticeships, from an apprentice. 



As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2022, we're delighted to feature a guest author for this blog, our very own Data Engineer, Zayn Azam. 


Author bio


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Data Engineer, Zayn Azam is studying Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions and is based from Wavenet's St Albans office. 


Zayn started his career in IT straight after his GCSE's and has achieved an impressive qualification record including Level 3 in IT and Telecoms, and Level 4 Foundation Degree in Network Engineering. Zayn sees great value in investing in himself, his education and skillset, and has achieved several professional certifications alongside his apprenticeship study. 


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It’s the 15th National Apprenticeship Week this week and if you’re looking for an overview to see what apprenticeships are, this article is for you. 


I am excited for National Apprenticeship week as the whole Apprenticeship sector gets together to showcase the great work that takes place across the country, it's an opportunity to reflect on how the sector and the individuals within (myself included) have progressed from the last year and the chance to inspire others.



What exactly is an Apprenticeship?


An Apprenticeship is a paid placement where the employee learns on the job.


There are now over 700 Apprenticeship standards (courses) to choose from to support the various job roles out there for employers to choose from in a wide range of sectors such as Agriculture, IT, Transport, and Sports to name a few.


The four different levels are outlined as below:  

  • Intermediate apprenticeships (Level 2)
  • Advanced apprenticeships (Level 3)
  • Higher apprenticeships (Level 4 and above)
  • Degree apprenticeships (Levels 6 — 7)


Alongside on-the-job training, Apprentices spend at least 20% of their contracted working hours to complete classroom-based learning to a nationally recognised qualification. It’s good to note that this 20% should be taken as a minimum and not just a target to support maximum growth.


At Wavenet, an Apprenticeship consists of a hands-on job role backed by industry experts in the field. Apprentices are placed across our core business functions from Finance to Operations.


There is a common misconception that Apprentices are often young inexperienced people, this is incorrect.


There are no age restrictions to be an Apprentice and an Apprenticeship can be a great way to change job roles and move into another sector.


Support for the costs of training for the Apprentices is available from the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).


Training providers across the country support employers to access funding and talent.




Apprenticeships are a great way to built talent and skills within your workforce as for the ROI did you know that...


86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity.

Richard McHugh, the Head of Digital Capability at DWP Digital recently wrote a piece on how Apprenticeships have supported DWP digital with building a talented home-grown workforce and upskilling employees.


Apprenticeships are not only for young people – they can help make IT departments more diverse and inclusive, as well as plugging skills gaps, as DWP Digital has proved.

Richard’s article explained how Apprenticeships can: improve diversity, increase capability, and support growth and retention.


You can read more about their brilliant work on Computer Weekly here.



My Apprenticeship journey


My Apprenticeship experience has been very valuable in helping me kick-start my career in IT. I have had different roles across the business which has broadened my exposure to different technologies and services. This has been great for my career planning so I can plan what I want to do next!


I enjoyed my first apprenticeship after leaving school passing a Level 3 IT & Telecoms, so I decided to do another one in Network Engineering. Once completed, I am now am on a Level 6 studying towards a degree. I chose to study further as the blended learning of working on and off the job really worked well for me in grasping core conceptions.


During this time, I have been able to set myself some additional personal development goals in achieving some industry qualifications from ITIL to Microsoft in addition to setting soft skill goals in trying to improve manage my time more efficiently and enhancing my team working skills.


An Apprenticeship created the space for me to grow alongside the company as a human being as well as a professional.


5 years on, 2 and a bit apprenticeships later, it’s been great building relationships with people whether it’s our clients, colleagues, or partners everyone has helped develop my Apprenticeship experience.


No two days are the same and we’re all learning from each other whilst working in an agile environment delivering IT solutions across the public, private and third sectors.


As for the future, I am still deciding on what to pursue next.



Support for Apprentices


The Association of Apprentices (AoA) was launched last year, backed by various organisations. The AoA has created a platform for Apprentices to learn and network with each other across the UK which is very useful and supplements learning in the classroom and on the job. 


The AoA and ITN Productions Industry News has co-production ‘Apprentices: Connect, Engage and Inspire’


The programme will premiere at ‘Build the future by community’ a virtual event run by AoA on 9th February 2022 at 16:00 during National Apprenticeship Week. 




Watch me in action!



I've participated in several online events in preparation for National Apprenticeship Week and am thrilled to be a spokesperson, sharing my experiences and apprenticeship journey, and offering advice for anyone considering the apprenticeship route. 



ITN filming 


I spoke to Sharon Thomas from ITN Productions in a short film led by the Association of Apprentices, to discuss the benefits of an apprenticeship to my career.




Festival of Apprenticeships 


I participated in a session called 'Staying Connected With An Apprenticeship - in Partnership with the Association of Apprentices (AoA)'  live in YouTube!


The Festival of Apprenticeships is an event that advocates, promotes and celebrates Apprenticeships. This is no ordinary Careers Fair; this celebratory event that not only promotes the value apprenticeships can deliver for young people, but also gives them the knowledge and expertise about how to apply for the right one for them. 





NCFE Vodcast 


I shared my experiences as an apprentice on a vodcast with NCFE as part of their National Apprenticeship Week Celebrations. 









"My advice for anyone considering an apprenticeship is, just do it! You can learn on the job, get a qualification and get paid at the same time! Apprentices at Wavenet are a close group, we have the opportunity to learn from each other and grow together."

- Zayn Azam

Our solutions have been evolved over the last two decades to allow us to innovate and provide our customers with the future-proof technology they need to stay ahead of their competition. Broken into four simple groups, our solutions cover all aspects of business communications and technology.
  • Unified Communications & Voice
  • Networking & Connectivity
  • Security & Compliance
  • IT & Technology Services


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Wavenet is a respected, multi-award-winning provider of telecoms and technology solutions to thousands of businesses and enterprises across the UK.


We are passionate about being at the forefront of disruptive technology providing our customers with the innovation and infrastructure to truly outperform their competitors.


We work with our customers to understand each business’s unique needs and challenges and build innovative solutions that are reliable, secure and future-proof.


Established in 2000, Wavenet provides a wide range of leading communications and technology solutions to medium and enterprise companies throughout the UK. We have grown to over 200 employees and more than 8,000 customers nationwide giving us the trust and experience required to make your Business Brilliant.



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