Harvey Miles is a Digital Technology Services Apprentice at Centrica. We caught up with Harvey to find out about his Trailblazer Story and the importance of apprenticeships to businesses.
My passion for STEM subjects started at school - there are so many opportunities to apply your skills in the real world. I’ve always found it easier to learn practically rather than academically, so an apprenticeship with hands-on experience was the perfect match.
Centrica runs 15 different apprenticeship programmes and has committed to recruiting 3,500 smart engineer apprentices before the end of the decade. The apprentices will play a huge role in helping the energy services and solutions company support the government’s net zero ambitions. I am really excited to be contributing to initiatives that will help to create a cleaner, greener future for everyone.
I joined the Salesforce Platform team as DevOps Engineer within Digital Technology Services in September 2021, and I’ve already landed my first certification. But it’s not just about learning new technical skills. There are 16 other apprentices of different ages and backgrounds in my cohort, which means you also get to learn from other people’s life experiences. It really feels like we are on a journey together.
At the end of the apprenticeship, which will last around 15 months, I will qualify as a Level 4 DevOps Engineer. I can also opt to complete other courses and certifications relevant to my role. Centrica is committed to equipping its apprentices with the skills they need to succeed; I am encouraged to take time out every day to not only expand my expertise, but also boost my wellbeing. When a company has a ‘grow your own’ culture, it makes you feel valued - and that motivates people to excel.
Salesforce was completely new to me until I joined Centrica. Thanks to Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform, I quickly discovered that there’s a lot more to the platform than just CRM. I signed up with Trailhead on the second day of my apprenticeship - and six weeks later, I became a Salesforce Ranger!
I love the gamified approach to learning and the breadth of Trails on offer. Trailhead is not just focused on technology and Salesforce; I’ve also completed Trails on project management, soft skills, and diversity. The incremental approach to learning means I can discover a new skill in the morning and put it into practice in the afternoon.
Without Trailhead, it would have taken me a lot longer to contribute to the team. I’ve already been able to write some code to demonstrate my ideas for managing our continuous delivery pipeline and I’m now working on implementing single sign-on capabilities for Salesforce users across the organisation, which includes Centrica Hive. It’s great to know that Trailhead will be by my side throughout my apprenticeship.
For me, diversity is about tapping into a richer set of ideas - and that means embracing different backgrounds and reflecting different experiences. At Centrica, we want to deliver innovative energy services and solutions that help solve the needs of our 10 million+ customers. And that means we need to be representative of all groups in society.
But increasing diversity doesn’t start in the workplace, it starts in school. Even though technology is all around us, it’s often overlooked in the classroom. We need to increase awareness about different technology careers and skills at a much earlier age. Even creative writing expertise can be applied to technology! For example, user stories, case studies, and training guides are all key to the adoption and implementation of new solutions.
Apprenticeships help to break down barriers and open up opportunities for more people, which will help the technology industry not only become more inclusive, but also plug the digital skills gap.
It’s important to identify the learning approaches that suit you best and the topics that interest you most. Apprenticeships provide people with the opportunity to earn while they learn, and don’t require the same formal qualifications as a university course.
Apprenticeships are not just for young people - the Centrica schemes are open to everyone and are a great way to reboot your career. If you are excited and inspired about trying something new, then just go for it! Look for an apprenticeship scheme where you will be part of a community; having access to a support network and experienced colleagues is key – especially if you will be learning and working from home. You need to be empowered to ask questions; and to recognise that there are no stupid questions.
I like finding solutions to problems whether it’s for Centrica colleagues or customers. There’s so much potential to harness technology, such as smart meters, to make a real difference to people’s lives and the future of the planet.
I want to become a developer - ideally specialising in Salesforce. The platform is so vast and can be easily integrated with other solutions to create endless development opportunities. Learning about Salesforce in such a short timeframe has been a real challenge but also a lot of fun.
I also want to help break down barriers in the technology industry to make it more inclusive. Imagine if you could write a bit of code to make technology more accessible for everyone?! It would unlock a massive talent pool and enable more people to contribute to tackling global challenges, such as poverty and climate change.
Explore your own interests and potential career paths on Trailhead.