Hello, I Am Chris
Tell us more about your experience
In my role, I work proactively to identify and manage potential threats to the organisation by conducting relevant investigations and distributing the intelligence to our stakeholders. Some of my day-to-day tasks include managing digital risk alerts, writing tactical reports, driving security awareness, and partaking in security incident investigations.
The most exciting project that I have worked on is when I lead a Threat Action Group in response to a cyber threat that had the potential to impact the business. I coordinated the response and the actions required from Cyber Defence to ensure that any potential compromise was contained and measures were put in place to improve detections and protection. Along with this, my proudest moment has been when I was nominated for Apprentice of the Year by my line manager and peers!
I originally decided to do an apprenticeship once I completed my journalism and media course at college. I decided that the field wasn’t for me and looked into apprenticeships after attending various careers fairs. I liked the sound of working, getting experience on the job, all while continuing my studies and personal development. That’s not even to mention getting paid all at the same time!
“The traditional university route never really appealed to me, so an apprenticeship just felt right.”
The advice I would give to those still in school and unsure of what kind of career they’d like to pursue would be to not panic! I used to feel as if a career path had to be laid out and followed every step of the way to reach an end goal, but that doesn’t have to be the case at all. I think that if you know what broadly interests you, or what you’re good at, researching and speaking to others at careers fairs to explore opportunities is a great way to see what’s out there.
While there are many great reasons to choose the university route, I would advise against picking it just because that’s what your friends are doing or choosing a degree qualification that is so narrow that you don’t have a huge number of options to play with once you’re finished with it. With an apprenticeship, you’re still able to earn a degree while building your network and getting a wealth of experience under your belt – both on the job and academically, all while earning good money!
“My employer is fully supportive of my apprenticeship!”
Whether it be needing more time to focus on studies or asking experienced analysts in the team for advice, it’s always available and is invaluable. They also help support me in balancing my workload alongside my academic work to ensure there’s never too much on my plate at once time. My training provider also grants plenty of support from a personal and academic perspective. The safeguarding team is excellent and always on hand to offer support when it’s needed. We also have a specialist team that runs sessions for those new to referencing, writing assignments or managing time. This is all on top of the one-to-one support you get from tutors and skills coaches!
The main skill I have learnt is time management and prioritisation! It’s so important when balancing your workload with studying, and it took me a while to learn to say no. I’ve also built and improved on my knowledge of cyber security elements through on-the-job responsibilities and theory-based exercises in workshops. After my apprenticeship, I would love to see myself hopefully taking up an analyst position within my current team.
When I think back now, one thing I was worried about when choosing to pursue an apprenticeship is the kind of work that I’d actually be doing. Would I just be someone on the sidelines doing the small jobs that no one else wants to do? I can honestly say from my experience across two different apprenticeships in two different teams that this is absolutely not true. The level of responsibility I’m given and the work I’m exposed to is the same as everyone else, but at the same time, I have more experienced individuals to lean on for support.
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