News Story.

Interview: Conor Thornton

Interview: Conor Thornton

At Secon Cyber Security we believe in developing our people and maximising their potential, promoting an environment in which they can grow and develop successful careers.

In a sustained initiative to nurture young talent, Secon Cyber has visited and exhibited at schools and career day fairs to try and motivate students to pursue exciting careers in cyber security. One way in which we like to showcase a proven success story within Secon Cyber is by taking customer success professional Conor Thornton to these events to help educate students on the career options they have in front of them. In his case it was to pursue a sales apprenticeship at Secon Cyber.

We took a moment to catch up with Conor to discuss his experiences and thoughts on apprenticeships and career options for students.

In a time when students are encouraged to pursue a university degree, what made you decide against taking that path?

My school in particular encouraged all students very hard towards the academic route of A-Levels & university, I almost felt forced into this which is why I decided to start looking if alternative options were available. I was eager to get out into the working world and start earning as soon as possible and the thought of another five to six years in education after GCSE’s did not appeal to me.  

Did your school help by providing any information on apprenticeships or by highlighting apprenticeships as a viable choice instead of going to college and university?

No, throughout my five years in secondary school, it was almost drilled into us that going to sixth form and university was the only way to get a foot into a successful career. Apprenticeships were not something that were really mentioned to us at all.  

What would you say have been the greatest benefits of taking on an apprenticeship?

I’ve now been working for Secon Cyber for three years and almost feel as though I’ve gotten a head-start in my career. I’ve been able to develop new and existing skills that can not be obtained without real work experience. I’ve gained invaluable on the job experience and been able to pursue a career that I really enjoy.  

What skills have you acquired from working as a full time sales apprentice that you feel you probably wouldn’t have picked up if you chose to pursue a degree?

Sales is a very diverse role, I’ve had exposure to many things that I would not have necessarily picked up in education. I’ve experienced first hand how a business operates and runs on a day to day basis, I’ve developed customer service skills and gained a lot of confidence through talking with both vendor partners and customers.

I am now responsible for managing my own accounts, Secon have given me opportunities that not many people my age have been given and that has allowed me to gain a lot of new skills.  

What advice would you give to any students who are unsure about what they want to do after leaving school?

There are more options out there than just university. Of course for certain roles a degree or similar qualifications are essential but there are many other roles where you can be as equally successful that don’t necessarily require this. I’ve seen friends go through college or university solely because they could not think of what they wanted to do for work and have now come to regret wasting time, so I would advise against relying on college solely because you do not know what you want to do once you’ve left school.

Would you recommend apprenticeships to any students leaving school now?

Absolutely, since working at Secon Cyber I have not once regretted my decision to leave education.

For more information please visit our website or call us on 0845 5678 777.

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