Q&A with WIDI apprentice, Ethan Needham

Our WIDI apprentices have played a crucial role in supporting the work of NWIS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We managed to catch up with Ethan Needham who started as an NWIS apprentice towards the end of 2019. He who told us about how he has been involved in the crucial work of enabling staff remote access to the NHS network safely and securely, and the extra confidence he has gained in himself as a result. Take a look.

Q: How did you hear about our apprenticeships scheme and when did you start?

A: I started on the 2nd of September 2019. I heard of the opportunity through my mum, she works for WAST (Welsh Ambulance Service) and has friends that have worked here. She heard that multiple apprenticeships were on offer with NWIS and she told me about it. So I looked on the website to find the details and who to contact about it.

Q: What is your job role within NWIS?

A: My job role is a core infrastructure apprentice which enables me to spend time with the various teams within infrastructure learning new skills. I will then be able choose specific areas which really interest me and spend more time with them.

Q: Has your University work gone online? If yes, how has the university and your NWIS manager supported you?

A: My uni work hasn't fully gone online. This is in most part due to the subjects having finished all of their planned material for the topics and therefore no online classes were needed to be made available. Each of the lecturers have each released an assignment for their topic and have stressed that if we have any problems or need help to contact them via email. My university lecturers have supported me by constantly being available through email, if I ever need guidance or help then it is always there. My NWIS manager hasn't really needed to support me through this time mostly due to the university taking on the full weight of the support. Also, the links between NWIS and the university hold monthly meetings to make sure the group of apprentices are all well and they check if any of us require any assistance. However, my manager has also made clear that if I need help with anything or if I am struggling then I can speak to him.

Q: Which parts of your work for NWIS have been to do with the pandemic?

A: One of the bigger pieces of work that I had been taking part in was to make sure that we could allow all NHS Wales staff access to the NHS networks via VPN both safely and reliably during this period. I would say that this work has been crucial to allowing all those staff who are able to work from home and carry out any tasks that they need to.

Q: Do you feel more confident in yourself after working in the organisation at such a challenging time?

A: I definitely feel much more confident in myself after working during this time. This is mostly down to how much more work there has been to do, thus giving me much more experience with different types of work than I would usually. This will be a big help for when I am undertaking tasks in the future because there is a chance that I may have done something to do with it during this period.