Alek Zurawek: Alumnus finds success after engineering apprenticeship
Apprenticeships are an excellent option for ambitious school leavers who know what they want to do in their careers and Aleksander Zurawek is testament to that fact. Alek graduated from Christ the King Sixth Form College and was offered a Network Engineering apprenticeship at Block Solutions, an IT consultancy and services company for businesses. Alek is now a Senior Provisioning Engineer for Virgin Media Business.
“My proudest achievement since finishing at Christ the King Sixth Form College was getting my foot in the door of the IT industry. I was given the opportunity to join a company specializing in networking consultation to some very high profile clients like Harrods, Lakeside and Canary Wharf Group.”
Alek’s apprenticeship gave him the chance to gain real working experience alongside getting his qualification. As a result, he has been able to progress quickly in the IT industry, and his current role holds a lot of responsibility.
Alek’s route to success
“My role at Block Solutions was essentially a field consultant, deploying customer networks varying from wireless to routing and switching. I have been involved in a lot of wireless projects where we would provide location tracking services. For example, for Harrods, our goal was to provide accurate shopper location tracking information to push out the relevant advertisements via text messaging. This means that when you are standing near the shoe section, for instance, you would receive a text with a 25% discount if you purchase the shoes now.”
After his apprenticeship, Alek was offered a place on a course which allows him to work and study for his degree at the same time.
“CCIE is Cisco’s equivalent of a PhD in Network Engineering. The certification often takes more than 10 years of experience to obtain. By then I would ideally like to have a couple of years’ experience freelancing, as there are a multitude of opportunities in this field.
“I am currently pursuing the certification route set out by Cisco. These can be obtained at university over a 3 year period, but I am instead studying whilst working at Virgin Media Business and getting all the necessary real life experience. I am the youngest team member to ever join this sector of the company.”
Taking on more responsibility
“Virgin Media Business is the second largest network estate within the UK and the only real competitor of BT. We provide a lot of unique solutions. My job role within the company is to implement and design IPVPN solutions. IPVPN is essentially a type of technology which allows us to connect two or more customer sites across our already existing network topology without other customers seeing each other.
The job has immense amount of responsibility and one mistake can cause thousands of customers to lose connectivity. These can be hospitals, police stations or banks.”
Finally, Alek told our Alumni Team about his fondest experiences from Christ the King College, and how his time here helped to hone his love of IT and encouraged him to work hard towards his ambitious career goals:
“My fondest memories from being at College must be the atmosphere created by the people in my classes. I don’t think I can remember a person who was not friendly and the same goes for the teachers.”