James Jarrard, our Apprentice Developer, is being kept occupied juggling Digital & Technology Solutions studies at Manchester Metropolitan University with the demands of office life. Siobhan, our HR & Office Manager, caught up with James for a quick chat to see how his second year with Shaping Cloud compares to the first.

Siobhan: How has this year been different to your first year?

James: There was more responsibility in the second year, I was capable to learn and do more at work. University work was harder but more interesting and rewarding. I’ve been more organised, and found my work/life balance has improved.

I’ve been to a tech talk by Thinking Digital MCR, had interviews with the BBC… and drank a fair bit of coffee.

Siobhan: What have been your main highlights?

James: I’ve met a lot of new people, moved flat, painted a homelessness and poverty prevention charity [see why we support Mustard Tree here] and developed my own apps outside of work. I’ve been to a tech talk by Thinking Digital MCR, had interviews with the BBC… and drank a fair bit of coffee.

 Siobhan: Is there anything you would have done differently?

James: I would have come up with a work plan with my manager earlier in the year; that organisation from my manager developed my time management skills and I’ve really felt the benefits.

Siobhan: What long-term advice would you give anyone about to start an apprenticeship?

James: Write everything down; time moves quickly and forgetting things is a massive headache.

Siobhan: What are you working on that you had no idea how to do last year?

…it’s opened up a whole new world of things I’m capable of taking on myself.

James: This year I worked a lot with APIs. I’m now doing C# MVCs and feel I understand most of it; there’s still some things missing from my knowledge, but it’s opened up a whole new world of things I’m capable of taking on myself.

Siobhan: What do you think about the culture at Shaping Cloud?

James: Things are always changing but the values stay the same. The team has been innovative, super friendly, and very helpful.

Siobhan: And finally, what do you wish you had known before starting?

James: To buy an umbrella.

Some solid advice for other apprentices there, plus a useful tip for whoever gets James in the office Secret Santa this year.

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