The journey started mid February where I came out of work and wanted to chase my passion in the creative world, I was searching for graphic design apprenticeship and practicing on Photoshop giving myself projects to help improve my skills, whilst applying I found Tech City Stars offering a Graphic design apprenticeship and I applied, something about their website really stuck out to me, I liked how their questions were straight forward whilst building a profile of you and the last question before you hit submit was something like. “Why should we choose you.” This was the only time I wrote about how I learnt my skills on Photoshop and also the passion behind it, I explained that I learnt how to use Photoshop from watching YouTube videos and that I also started learning from my early teens and I wished to hopefully further my learning with them. The next day I received a phone call asking me to come down for an interview, I was in great shock because like I said this was first time I’ve gone in to detail about how I learnt, if I’m honest I thought they would have found it quite silly, the day of the interview I was nervous but I kept calm and just remained focused, I pretty much wanted to make sure there was nothing stopping me from getting this, when it was my time to be interviewed I put my heart into the interview I gave the interviewer my passion behind graphic design, I’m pretty sure I bored her a bit but it was WORTH IT!
A few days later I received a phone call saying I was accepted to their two weeks Reboot Camp, where you gain employability skills and have the chance to meet real life employers who are looking for apprentices, they also explained they work on CV building, interview skills, Giving presentations in teams and confidence building and on the second week of the course they have speed interviews, problem solving and a Dragons Den day all with possible employers, I was excited and couldn’t wait to start.
The week before Reboot camp I found out a childhood friend had passed away, and it affected me quite bad to the point that I wasn’t going to go to induction day of camp, and a good friend of mine that is always there to put me in line told me I’d be silly to not go, reminded me how lucky I am to get an opportunity like this. By induction day I was feeling a bit better about the situation, in my mind I told myself just go get the day over and done with, when I got there I saw a friend there that I haven’t seen in a few years and that helped bring my mood back up, we had a nice catch up after the induction day and got to know a few of the other students and by the end of the day I couldn’t wait to start camp.
The whole Reboot camp experience was an eye opener, I met some people I would like to call friends for life, the first few days into camp everybody built such a relationship which was quite shocking, the tutors said groups don’t normally gel this quick it normally takes the second week for everyone to build that connection, day to day learning didn’t feel like school or any other course where you need to be there everyday learning the same boring stuff, everyone wanted to be there, we enjoyed the classes as we were all involved in talking and working together throughout the day, first week went by in a flash, the second week which was meant to be harder, more pressure and more serious but the group treated it the same as the week before with the same energy, same jokes as before and if anybody was feeling pressured or down they had the whole group to support them, camp taught me to believe in myself and my ideas more because in the past I would listen to someone else’s plan and help them make it better by giving my feedback, I was never one to put my idea forward just in case another team member wanted to really use their own, I was content with helping to get a win. My favourite day of camp was the dragons den day, I love the fact that the tutors set the teams at random and we had less than 24 hours to come up with a business plan, I offered to be a team leader for my team and they agreed, I listened to all of their idea’s and told mine last and asked them to vote for what they thought was best, they all loved my idea and decided to go with it, we took a few hours to came up with name and logo and set home work to members and broke the team in to two and the morning of the dragons den day the team had finished the majority of the work, we spent time setting up the power point slides, we made a little slip up with finance but we altered it in time, we were against five other teams, three of which were phone chargers, a dating app and ours which was a photography & music studio, the dragons loved our idea. We were the only team to get yeses from all four Dragons.
One of the Dragons named Chris from Social Ink, found the idea amazing, we had a brief conversation after all teams had gone up, he asked my team who’s idea it was, and my whole team was quick to say it was my idea, I found it majorly humbling as I thought they’d take some of the credit too, Chris told the team that I am an entrepreneur in the making, those words had such a impact on me because I’ve never been told that before I went home that evening on a high.
The next day I was speaking to one of the career developers and they told me that Chris wants to plan a meeting with me to start up a project similar to mine. For the rest of that week I was in such a shock and didn’t believe it was real because what me and my team presented at the dragon’s den day was my dream and being told that Chris wants to start a similar project with me is like a dream coming to life.
(A dream to me is part of sleeping or something you wish for and work towards, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your going to get it so you settle for less.)
… That’s why I couldn’t believe it…
Everybody from camp couldn’t stop congratulating me and asking me why do I not seem excited… If I am honest, I was excited. I was just more scared, scared of meeting Chris and somehow putting him off and letting down everybody from my camp because they were believing in me more than I was believing in myself. I knew my excitement would properly kick in after I met up with Chris and then I could pass on the good news to everyone on camp.
I remember the Monday after reboot camp finished, I was preparing for an interview that I got through Tech City Stars the Wednesday, no matter how hard I tried to focus I couldn’t because my nerves were getting bigger and bigger as days went by, I had a gut feeling that this meeting with Chris was going to be on the Thursday, but I tried not to think about it and kept trying to revise the company I had the interview for but what I was reading wasn’t sticking, so bad that when Wednesday came and it was my time to go in, the interviewer asked me some questions I had no clue how to answer but I tried my best in answering them, I reassured the interviewer I am more than willing to learn everything I need to know for the job, at the end of the interview she told me she can tell I was nervous but she liked how honest I was with her.
I went home feeling good with myself after the feedback the interviewer gave me, it was a definite boost in confidence. The next morning, I was getting ready to go meet one of the tutors from reboot camp to finish off parts of the booklet we had to do during the two weeks, as I was getting ready I remember thinking that my gut instinct was wrong about meeting Chris that day and no word of a lie as I left my house to make my way to go meet the tutor I got a call from Jonathan from Tech City Stars saying Chris wants to meet that afternoon and that he has a offer for me, the more Jonathan was talking the more my confidence shot up by the end of the call I told myself GAME ON!
I met up with the tutor explained I was meeting up with Chris that afternoon, we spent the time talking about the meeting, the work I was meant to be doing went out the window for that day, we finished off our conversation and I made my way to meet up with Chris, on my journey there I bumped into James the Head of Business Development at Tech City Stars, he told me his actually was coming to the meeting to support me, for me knowing I was going to have support there helped made my confidence boost even bigger. Now that we have gotten to the office and were down with with Chris, he offered me an apprenticeship that amazed me, it was everything I have ever wanted to learn with a lot more, there was no way I could turn it down, just before the end of the meeting, I told James and Chris how appreciative I was of this opportunity and I couldn’t stop stressing on how much of a impact my team had on me, I also couldn’t stop rambling on about how one person in my team has crazy potential but they haven’t realised, it was a shock to them both about how much passion I spoke of this one person, Chris finished the meeting by telling me he didn’t want a answer that day, I was told to take my time to think about it as it is going to be fun but hard at the same time, I couldn't have agreed with him because I felt like there was no saying yes till I run it by my parents and the other students from reboot camp, even though I knew I was going to accept it I just wanted to tell that this is what is offered to me and I am going to take it.
Now that I have started the apprenticeship and a few days in, I am absolutely loving what I am learning and working on and can not wait to see what the next 13 months have to offer.
I want to sign out by just thanking everyone at Tech City Stars, especially my tutors Wayne & Rhi, they were such help to everyone on reboot camp and I that their next class will definitely be proud to have tutors like them, I want to also thank the students who was on camp with me, you all have motivated me in so many ways.
I felt like i needed to add this picture of us all as a reminder of what a great group of people was with me on reboot camp.
I also want to say a thank you to Chris for giving me this crazy opportunity I am looking forward to all the work will be doing together.
Lastly thank you all for taking the time to read this LONG blog, please feel free to follow me on twitter @NathanJ94_ I will be posting weekly blogs talking about my time here at Social Ink also feel free to tweet me any question you may have of my time at reboot camp and my time here at Social Ink. Thanks again and take care.