Darren Gough, a Business Process Improvement Lead at Travis Perkins, already had an interest in data. But he wanted a more formal qualification, and to confirm that working in data was the right fit for him. So, he decided to pursue Avado’s Data Analyst Apprenticeship offered to him by his employer. Along the way, he found new applications for his data skills, and he overcame some serious challenges. Read on for Darren’s story.
On gaining a formal qualification
Although Darren has been working with data for years, both in his current role and as an accountant, he wanted to boost that knowledge with a qualification. Until he began the apprenticeship, his learning was self-guided and more informal.
He also understood the benefits the apprenticeship could have both for his own progression, and for Travis Perkins as a whole. “Ultimately, the business benefits from having more skilled people working for them and hopefully, my projects did show that,” he said of his time working through the apprenticeship.
Darren particularly enjoyed Avado’s approach to apprenticeship delivery and appreciated the guidance he received from his learning and development coach.
His coach also showed him specific scenarios where he could use those tools and gave real-world examples from his own experiences.
On overcoming obstacles
Not only did Covid begin right at the start of Darren’s apprenticeship, but he also had a personal challenge to face. “I do lots of cycling and weight training, but, lo and behold, I had a heart attack while out cycling one day, which is just crazy,” said Darren. “Thankfully, I got through that, and being in hospital during Covid.”
To focus on his recovery, Darren had to take a step back from his apprenticeship. When he was ready to come back, he struggled to get back into the routine, juggling his work commitments and the seven hours a week he needed to devote to his apprenticeship.
“I’m really glad I’ve done it now,” he said. “But I must admit, I did find it hard when I first started back. Picking things up, picking up my notes, because I really had to read it all again and refresh myself.” It ended up taking Darren an additional eight months to complete the apprenticeship. Luckily, his coach was supportive, helping him through his situation and allowing him the space to progress without too much pressure.
On the changes in his day-to-day
Although Darren did have a good working knowledge of data, the apprenticeship opened his eyes to applying key principles around identifying, validating and standardising data. “I’m a bit more regimented now,” he said.
Apart from showing him new tools and applications he’s eager to use in the future, the apprenticeship also gave Darren the desire to do more with data. He’s since enquired about the next level in Avado’s Data Academy.
“Even if you think you know something, it confirms that you’re doing things the right way,” Darren said of his learning journey. He was also grateful for his tutor and their guidance. It showed that anyone can get through the learning, even someone facing difficult circumstances, as he did.
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