Helping an apprentice find the right role in which to excel
What do you do when you land your dream job – only to realise it’s not for you? That’s what happened to our former apprentice, Phoebe Davin. But rather than letting her head out of the door, we helped to find her own niche by spending time with each department until she found a role which felt like the right fit.
Phoebe was born in Jersey, moved to the UK when she was four and grew up in Southampton. By the time she was approaching her mid 20s she still hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do with her life. She’d missed out on university and had moved between a series of unfulfilling jobs, none of which held her interest. However she realised she liked working from home, as it allowed her to concentrate fully and throw herself into things.
“My friend from college had been into coding,” Phoebe says, “so in my spare time I started learning to code front end things. So I applied for an apprenticeship at Dootrix to do software engineering.”
After a couple of interviews with an apprenticeship organisation and another two at Dootrix, Phoebe secured a place with us as a trainee software engineer. It wasn’t quite what she’d expected.
“About a month into the apprenticeship, I came to the conclusion that I'd bitten off more than I could chew,” she says. “I told everyone ‘I'm so sorry, but I really can't do this. I thought it was something different. I'm not the right person for it. I shouldn't have wasted your time.’”
Rolling attachments across all departments to find the right fit
At Dootrix we look for good people with great potential and not just a set of pre-existing skills. If people bump up against their limitations we like to find a way they can play to their strengths. So, we encouraged Phoebe to find her niche with us, rather than leave.
“Instead of being like ‘Okay, bye bye’ Dootrix’s Technical Director Kevin Smith said something along the lines of; ‘Well, how about you stick around and try all the different departments and see what you like, and we can try and find a position for you in something that you enjoy doing?’ That was just incredible.”
Phoebe then embarked on a round of circuit training; indeed, her apprenticeship job title was ‘circuit trainee’. So, Phoebe did do a stint with almost every department in the company.
“I went around all the departments and really, really loved design, because I've always been quite creative. But I'm actually a Delivery Manager now. It was really funny because Charlie, who's head of delivery, said ‘Put delivery last because she's not going to enjoy it.’ But I ended up enjoying that the most.”
Phoebe’s colleagues have enjoyed her progress with a degree of amusement, but also pleasure. It’s good to see someone find a role they can make their own.
Delivery Management: seeing everything come together
“Working in Delivery Management, I enjoy watching everyone else – the engineers, the designers, the testers – do their thing and watching how everything they're doing comes together. It feels so rewarding being involved in that and getting to work with everyone as a team – and that was so much more fulfilling for me, because I can’t design or code properly.”
Phoebe’s job as Delivery Manager is part Scrum Master, part project manager. She runs the ceremonies, nurtures the team, manages the backlog, responds to changing requirements and keeps across the admin side of a project.
“As scrum master I’m facilitating ceremonies for the team and I’m keeping in contact with the product owner at the company and just really making sure that everyone's on the same page. It's my job to remove any blockers for the team and be there as support. There’s a real misconception of delivery or project management in that it's seen as a traditional leadership role. But it’s actually much more ‘servant leadership’ – I’m a facilitator. I’m there to ensure things go smoothly, that people have what they need, that road blocks are dealt with.”
Strong team culture – despite remote working
In many ways it’s leadership turned on its head – Phoebe is answerable to everyone rather than the other way round. “I work from home, but I speak to people all day. I never ever feel alone.”
“Dootrix is really chilled and yet everyone really, really throws themselves into their job every single day. They’re very busy and very focused but, at the same time, very positive. There’s hard work, there’s real commitment, but there’s no drama.”
Since being promoted to Delivery Manager, Phoebe says her life been exceptionally busy. She’s had some challenging projects, but sees it as a great opportunity to learn. She’s also hoping to get a qualification, partly for the sense of personal achievement as well as the new skills it would bring.
“I really do believe anyone would be lucky to work here,” Phoebe says. “We all get to manage our own time and work in our own space, but we are very, very, very intertwined. We expect a lot from each other in the team and we give back in the same way. A lot of my engineer colleagues, especially, are quite self-contained people. But our way of working involves a lot of teamwork. Working as a remote team can provide the right balance between working with others and working alone, which I think is quite comforting.”
WORKPLACE EDUCATION PROGRAMME
The best of both worlds
At Dootrix we use Future Ed to nurture and encourage young talent into becoming industry experts. The programme is specially designed to ready you for working in a real professional environment and to build client / partner relationships while learning core and cutting edge industry skills.