Case Study – Camilla Hards

This month we interview Camilla Hards, who completed her IT User apprenticeship with ITEC in March 2012.  Camilla Hards 2013

ITEC:  Camilla, what were your thoughts and plans about your future career when you were coming up to leaving school?

Camilla:  I knew after school I wanted to study at college however after college I was a little lost.   I no longer wanted to study at university – I wanted hands-on experience, but having no experience at this point I found it very tough!

ITEC:  When you left college, why did you choose an apprenticeship over university?

Camilla:  Having gone to college (studying Art and Design) I wanted to go in to a creative job. Unfortunately the creative industry is a competitive industry and required me to gain more experience.   So instead of going to university, I felt that doing an apprenticeship would be the best way forward.  I would earn money, gain experience on my CV as well as gain qualifications, again adding to my skills.

ITEC:  What do you feel you gained from your apprenticeship that you would not have got at school, college or university?

Camilla:  I gained invaluable and irreplaceable hands-on experience in the working world. Because I was learning at the same time, I didn’t feel pressured and I didn’t feel stressed even when I made mistakes (as everyone does!).

ITEC:  What was it like working for your employer?  What did your job entail?

Camilla:  I worked for a photographic studio, Nicol’s Photography Studio, with Nicola (the studio owner).    She was a fabulous mentor and teacher and a great person.  I had the best two years working for her, the work didn’t feel like a job at all.   I was a photographer’s assistant at this time, doing admin tasks, photo-editing, manipulation, data entry and eventually taking bookings and shoots.

ITEC:  What skills and knowledge have you gained through your apprenticeship?

Camilla:  I gained an in depth knowledge of IT, photography and customer service.  The apprenticeship gave me more confidence in the industry and with customers.

ITEC:  What are you doing now?

Camilla:  I am currently a freelance photographer working for myself and contracting with other companies.

ITEC:  What contribution has your apprenticeship made to where you are now in your career?

Camilla:  Without the apprenticeship I wouldn’t be where I am today!   I wouldn’t have the skills or the confidence to shoot weddings, portraits and events and I wouldn’t have the knowledge to do the admin and IT work it entails.  It was the best decision I ever made and gave me an incredible start to my working life.

Diary of 30 Years in Business

December 1983 – how it all started – celebrating #30yearsinbusiness

It was 30 years ago today when I had my induction day at ITEC.   It was a brand new organisation, being set up by Basildon Council and the Department for Industry, under the innovative ITEC scheme.   The ITEC scheme involved the setting up across the country of several hundred Information Technology Centres under the Youth Training Scheme to train and find work in the new digital industries for unemployed young people in the District.ITEC building 1984

Basildon Council had provided the building for us, the old Nevendon Primary School in Burnt Mills Road.   The building was being refurbished under a work training scheme and it wasn’t ready the day we started.  I remember the corridor floor had only just been laid and it had been put down on wet cement – it’s nothing short of a miracle that this floor exists to this day!

Deck chairsWe had no electrics, furniture or fittings.  Malcolm, the ITEC Manager, brought in his deck chairs so we had something to sit on and the workman set up a light tube attached to the end of an extension lead, which we alternated between the light and the kettle!!  – would this even be allowed today under current H&S laws?!

There were 6 of us and I remember we were very excited to be involved in something so new and innovative.    Malcolm Bridges was the Manager, Tony Dwyer was the Deputy Manager, Paul Kench was the Electronics Trainer, Jo Bishop was the Databases/Spreadsheets Trainer, Jan Russell was the Programming Trainer and, at just 22 years of age, I was the Electronic Office Trainer, albeit I was still Wendy Peters then.

We spent the dark months of December 1983 and January 1984 getting the centre finished, receiving the deliveries of furniture for the classrooms and setting up the computers as they arrived.   D-Day was February 1st and we were determined to be ready………….

Wendy Vickers


2nd December 2013