Every once in a while we like to shine the spotlight on a member of our team to give you an insight into our people and culture.
The latest employee to take to the stage is Sam James, our IT Support Apprentice based at our iconic site, The Blade in Reading.
Sam is coming to the end of his course, we thought now would be the perfect time to find out about his experience and what it’s like to work in IT at Pure Offices.
I work in the office four days a week and spend one day a week studying. The apprenticeship is through West Berkshire College and is delivered by an IT education company called ITECH.
I’ve been building evidence of the work I do throughout the apprenticeship, and there’s a 10,000 word document that I have to submit soon. I have just passed my exams so I am nearly a graduate!
I finished sixth form in 2019 and spent a year doing odd jobs here and there, including in a factory and a warehouse. After a year, I decided it was time to figure out a career path.
I’ve always been an IT literate person; I know my way around a computer and other gadgets, and have built my own computers at home. I spotted the opportunity and thought I’d go for it. I’m glad I did, it ended up being a really good decision.
I went in with no expectations; I’d never been in a corporate environment before, so it was all very new to me. But I have to say Pure Offices has been great – everyone has been really welcoming and understanding of the fact that I’m learning.
As time’s gone by and I’ve done more exams, I’ve become more involved and knowledgeable. It’s been a great experience and it’s been very interesting to learn about different work functions and processes.
We have a ticketing system that the centre managers and assistant managers from the 23 centres across the UK use. If there’s an IT problem at their centre they’ll either call the helpdesk and explain the issue or submit a ticket. We deal with issues on a priority basis.
Over time I’ve got to know everyone – I can tell who most people are just from their voice! You could give me the name of one of the centre managers and I’d instantly be able to tell you the name of the centre they’re from and where it is in the country.
As time’s gone by and I’ve done more troubleshooting and solved different problems, I’ve found the networking side – configuring the network – increasingly interesting.
That’s a career path you can go down by doing different third party certificates. The experience has exposed me to a line of work which I was oblivious to before.
Because of the lockdown I couldn’t go into the office to meet everyone. I worked remotely for the first six months: I knew what people looked like but I’d never met them in person so it was a really weird start. When everyone started returning to the office I realised there was a completely different aspect to this working thing that I’d never experienced. I got to go in, see everyone’s faces, talk to them; I find that learning is a lot easier in-person.
I’m someone who likes to go into the office every day. I just find it’s a bit more social and I can get my head down if I need to. I do enjoy that part of the office atmosphere. It’s nice to have the social aspect.
Most of the time it’s remote, but sometimes we’ll go to the centre to ensure everything is working correctly from an IT perspective. For example, we went to Gloucester recently and worked through the weekend to configure the internet, sort out the cabling and make sure everything’s working well.
There are four of us on the IT team: me, Steven, Mark and Richard. Our manager, Steven Day, has been really influential in teaching me. Every now and then we’ll sit down and he’ll show me how to do something that I’m not sure about. Mark and Richard have also helped me learn a lot and I’d like to thank all three of them for their support!