A decade into his career, Andrew Billington clearly remains passionate about his role, while retaining an empathetic connection to new graduates, taking him back to his own student days.
At professional services company FDM, he recruits and trains graduates and ex-armed forces personnel as IT consultants for various prestigious clients. A typical day involves work with groups of trainees, as well as development, assessment, mentoring and interviewing roles. And an area he particularly enjoys is helping trainees prepare for what for many of them is a first move on to the career ladder.
“Although it’s important trainees learn technical skills, softer skills are also very important, and I enjoy imparting decades of wisdom – even if I appreciate I must sometimes sound like their grandfather!”
Andrew feels a real bond with graduates, remembering with affection his Edge Hill studies and ‘the inspirational example of many of those who taught me’.
“I learned a lot about teaching, regardless of the age of those learning. One example is the importance of initial assessment, establishing what they know; formative assessment to gauge progress; and summative assessment, showing key learning has taken place.”
The post-course advice he received from the University also proved important.
“The teaching staff were very supportive whenever I approached for help, and when I recently visited, everybody was very helpful and welcoming.”
What’s more, Andrew has no hesitation in encouraging students to move into the same field.
“It’s something that touches almost everybody, involved in many roles in the world of work, not all requiring technical knowledge. We take graduates of any discipline, training them as IT consultants in both the business and technical sectors.”
And his recommendation to students interested in IT?
“Try to find the perfect intersection of what you want to do, what you’re good at doing, and what will bring you an income you desire. If that happens to be IT, don’t rule it out just because you don’t have any experience or your course didn’t cover it. You’ll have learned lots of relevant transferable skills.”