My life as an apprentice at UK Research & Innovation

Aidan McComb · 5 February 2020

I’m Aidan, a YPN Representative at UK Research & Innovation.

In my day job I’m a systems administrator, working on a at ensures scientific data from the CERNs Large Hadron Collider (one of the world’s biggest clusters!) is stored correctly. Other aspects of my job include outreach projects, and I recently started training an apprentice myself.

When I joined Prospect, I was an apprentice, and I still study at work on a similar scheme. One of the benefits I’ve seen of being a member from such an early point in my career is the extra learning and experience I have gained from assisting with events, attending training aimed at young professionals, and the regular consultation committees. I believe this experience helped me when applying for a permanent position in the company, as it showed capabilities outside those that I would usually practice in my field.

I’d recommend apprenticeships for multiple reasons, especially gaining direct experience of working in the job instead of learning through theory. By the end of an apprenticeship you usually have enough experience to immediately start applying for positions higher than a usual non-experienced university graduate. Earning a salary whilst gaining qualifications is another great reason to do an apprenticeship, especially as the apprentice job market becomes more competitive.

The union has also campaigned successfully for better pay within my company, specifically towards apprentices, and this is important for many at this stage. The more apprentices who can voice their needs, the better able the union is to represent us and help make positive changes in apprentice hiring culture.

Aidan McComb is a Prospect member.