Alfred Palk

ICT Support Technician Apprentice

"Be it face to face, or by doing preventative maintenance, I enjoy assisting people and making sure their IT and more general technology experience at PETA is as smooth as possible."

What led you to work for PETA?

PETA gave me the opportunity to both work and study in the IT sector. Before starting my IT support apprenticeship with PETA, I worked in food retail. After leaving school, I attended both Fareham College and Highbury College, completing half of a 2-year IT BTEC at both colleges. After leaving Highbury College in 2014, I built my hours up from part time to almost full time at Iceland Foods, progressing from a basic frontline colleague to a Trade Duty Manager.

I decided to switch up my career path after 10 years with Iceland and go into IT, as that was what I had originally planned to do after leaving college. The best way for me to do so was to find an apprenticeship, and I was lucky enough to be offered one both studying and working at PETA.

What is your role at PETA and what drives you to do what you do?

My role at PETA is ICT Support Technician, which sits under the support services umbrella. My role varies day-to-day. From basic IT system upgrades, to fixing AV equipment in classrooms, I handle pretty much anything that relates to technology at PETA.

My keen interest in computers, as well as years of customer service experience, motivates me to help others. Be it face to face, or by doing preventative maintenance, I enjoy assisting people and making sure their IT and more general technology experience at PETA is as smooth as possible. My thirst for knowledge allows me to constantly improve myself, as well as the service I provide to others. If there is a skill or information I am missing, learning it gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

What knowledge or experience do you draw upon for your role?

Coming into this role as an apprentice, I only had a very basic (if any) understanding of most things. Many of the skills I use at home as an IT hobbyist are transferable to this role, such as trouble shooting issues with PCs. Most of the knowledge and skills I draw upon are being picked up on the way, as I progress through my apprenticeship, although I have been able to transfer some skills from my previous role as a Duty Manager in a supermarket.

Many of the customer service skills I have learned, as well as time management and task prioritisation really help working as an ICT Support Technician. My ability to pick up new skills quickly definitely helps as well, allowing me to take on new tasks when they come up.

How do you approach your role on a day-to-day basis? What skills are required?

No two days are the same in an ICT support role. One day you can be fixing AV equipment, and the next addressing network issues. With such a wide range of issues to deal with, the ability to stay cool calm and collected plays just as big a part as problem solving skills and technical knowledge.

Excellent customer service skills also have a big impact as you interact with a wide range of both internal and external people in a variety of ways. My main objective is always to cause minimal interruption to others, whether that’s by resolving issues quickly, or carrying out preventative maintenance to stop issues occurring in the first place.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

My main hobby is gaming. I have been playing video games since early in my childhood, and still enjoy them to this day. I am especially enjoy playing MMOs and RPGs, which is what I have most of my playtime on. On Sundays, you will usually find me playing airsoft. CQB battles are always fun, especially when I can sneak around the enemy team and take them all out from behind.

What are your personal values, and what is important to you?

Accountability, honesty and a willingness to try new things. It is important that everyone takes accountability for their actions and is honest with each other. Trying new things is the best way to gain experience. Always make the most of every opportunity you’re given.