A graduate of the Digital Futures Programme is not only showing she has ‘everything it takes to be an amazing engineer’ but is also teaching her mentor to be better at his own job – an unforeseen benefit of taking on an apprentice!
Ruqayyah Maqsood is one of three UTC Heathrow graduates who have taken up the newly formed apprenticeship positions at LMG. She has joined as an apprentice Fire Emergency and Security Systems Technician.
The company, which works to create intelligent buildings, has been working with UTC students for the past three years on the school’s trailblazing Digital Futures Programme*. As one of eight founding partners, LMG has had a hand in designing the curriculum, which teaches students transferable skills needed for a career in one of the largest business sectors that most people have never heard of – data services!
Prior to studying at UTCH – Ruqayyah joined for sixth form – she admits to being one of those people who had never heard of the data services sector before, let alone imagined working in it!
Her time working with employers from the sector, including LMG, as part of her Engineering BTEC changed that however, opening her eyes to the raft of opportunities available to her in one of the world’s fastest growing digital industries. She was therefore quick to apply for one of the recently created apprenticeships that become available at LMG in 2023 when she left school.
Ruqayyah began her Level 3 apprenticeship in September and says: “I’m so glad I went down the apprenticeship route because the university route wasn’t really for me. This company stood out for me because I liked their ethos, and so far it’s going really, really well.
“Everyone is really friendly and you can go to them with any issues – it’s just a very warm kind of environment. It’s also nice to be working with the other UTC students too as we’re the same age and it’s good to talk to them as they are going through the same thing as me at the beginning of their careers.
“As of right now, I’m still getting used to everything and learning the different parts of it. Every day is different, so the work isn’t at all repetitive.
“So, for example yesterday we did some fault finding to see what was wrong with a set of doors – looking at the configurations and the installation. But I’ve also been working on programming too, which I really like. It’s a lot to learn, and that’s what I like about it.”
Ruqayyah has literally blown the socks off the LMG team – especially her learning mentor Security Engineer Lead Matt Gilbert, who said:
“Ruqayyah’s attitude to learning and the energy she brings has made having her around a mutually beneficial experience.
“It has had the added, unforeseen benefit of giving me the opportunity to look at my own short fallings and address them in a positive way. I have real trouble letting things go and tend to do too much myself because I like things done properly and don’t trust others to meet the standards I expect. Because of Ruqayyah’s attention to detail and real desire to get things right, it’s allowed me to delegate quite a lot of tasks I wouldn’t normally trust to others – Ruqayyah has inspired that confidence in me with what she naturally brings.
“I’ve had lots of trainees in the past, but I have to say, I’ve never had one that has added as much to my day as I have theirs.”
Ruqayyah believes that her UTC training and participation in the Digital Futures Programme put her ahead of the game when applying for the apprenticeship. “I think maybe they saw my passion for the engineering sector at the interview and they thought that I’d be a good fit for the role.
“And I’m finding that a lot of the things that we are doing now through our tasks are like assignments in UTC – they tie back to what I’m working on now. I would recommend UTC for those who are interested in a career or apprenticeship in engineering as it’s very practical, which is more like real work.”
LMG are delighted with their young apprentice and look forward to watching her develop.
Matt Gilbert said: “Ruqayyah has everything it takes to be an amazing engineer and I look forward to helping her grow into exactly that. I’m really passionate about my job and engineering as a whole, Ruqayyah shares that passion and that makes teaching her a really enjoyable experience.”
This is exactly what the Digital Futures Programme is all about – helping young people train for rewarding careers and providing a pipeline of talented and passionate individuals to further digital infrastructure industry.