Higher Level Apprentice Opens Career Route for Ben

0 min read

20 November 2023

Higher Level Apprentice Ben Harvey

A straightforward path to a career in IT didn’t quite meet  expectations for Ben Harvey.   A change of direction led to the Higher-Level Apprenticeship route and an eye-opener about what’s on offer through further education.

Ben, (29), from Newtownards, followed his GCSEs with A-Levels at Regent House and then went to Queen’s University Belfast to complete a BSc in Computer Science.   Ben said, “I’d got halfway through my degree when I realised this is not what I expected or really wanted to do.   At that stage it made more sense to complete the qualification rather than drop out.

He added, “Whilst at university, I was working in Game - the video game retailer - as part of the customer service team.  I enjoyed the role and after I got my degree, I was able to secure a full-time post at Game and progressed to a management role.   I spent four years in retail before a friend of mine mentioned he had completed a Leadership and Management course at SERC which he recommended.   I enrolled on the course, and this helped me make a connection with EPOS NI, where I secured a post working in software.   I was with the organisation for three years, but I was working behind a desk and wasn’t really enjoying the work."

Ben continued, “I called into SERC one day to speak to one of the careers team to find out what other courses I could do and to get some help with career direction.   At that time, I thought an Apprenticeship was something someone did if they weren’t doing A levels, so I was enlightened to find out about the routes you could take with an Apprenticeship and to find out about Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLA).   The more I heard about the HLA in Mechatronic Engineering, the more I knew it would be the perfect move for me.   I enrolled on the course and spent a bit of time researching possible employers, but it was a link through the Apprenticeship team at SERC which led me to Camlin, where I secured the position of Apprentice Technician whilst I have been completing the HLA Mechatronic Engineering at SERC.   I will complete the course in June 2024 and hope to stay on with Camlin when I complete.

In conclusion, Ben spoke about coming to SERC in comparison to university, he said, “I have really enjoyed the HLA.  Coming back to learn at my age was a bit strange at the start but I have loved it. If I were to revisit my education again, I would go for an apprenticeship or straight to an HLA from A-Levels.   I don’t regret going to university where I made great friends and had a really good experience, but the apprenticeship route has proved, for me, a much better way of learning.   At university, you hardly get speaking to a lecturer, but at SERC, the lecturers are much more accessible and the combination of working and learning has been tremendous.”  

Unlock your future through a Higher Education course at SERC.