Kurt and Karolina’s work experience

We are sad to say that Kurt and Karolina’s work experience has come to an end for this year. Kurt will be joining us next year to continue his experience with us and Karolina will be back to focusing on school.

Here are their thoughts on their experience at The Apprentice Store…

Alex’s blog – My first week

Hello! My name is Alex and I have officially finished my work with The Shirlie Project and thanks to them I have now started my apprenticeship at The Apprentice Store. I would like to go over some of the details of my first proper week of employed work, so stick with me as I cover the start of my journey.

Toy Car on Map

Matthew’s Blog – My Busiest Week Yet!

This week was most likely the busiest I’ve ever had, especially in terms of travel and variety.

It started at 6:30am on the Monday morning, today we had a visit to one of our clients in Oban. There was no plan set for the day but we definitely wanted to give them a bit more awareness about Office 365. This is to get the staff thinking about some of the problems they currently face and how they can use the technology they’re paying for to solve them. For example, one of the main applications of interest is Microsoft’s To-Do application available on Windows desktops, iOS and Android.

Webroot Logo

Matthew’s Blog – Webroot Installs

I mentioned the anti-virus we will be offering to customers, Webroot, in the last blog post. This week I had two tasks around this, to get it installed on every computer our client has and to standardise our pricing in an Excel spreadsheet so we can give businesses a quote easily.

Our client didn’t have many computers and we didn’t have any information from their old provider about what anti-virus may already be installed. It seemed like the best approach was to remote onto each computer, check for old software, uninstall it and install the new.

Meeting Room

Matthew’s Blog – CIG Meeting

After much research, talking to others in the IT industry and discussion The Apprentice Store has decided on Webroot as the anti-virus we will be offering. This week was exciting for me, I got to see it in action.

The computer I mentioned in last week’s blog post was going to be picked up on Tuesday and I had little on my checklist to complete. I did however need to install the anti-virus and here is where I saw some of the real benefits of Webroot. Webroot allows you to deploy their software with a license key already bound to it.

Microsoft Excel Logo

Matthew’s Blog – Problem Solving

The Windows course was now over and I was back at work glad to be getting back to the usual routine of things. However I don’t know if I can describe my job at The Apprentice Store routine as there’s a lot of variation in my work, another thing I’m glad about.

The first problem I was presented with this week was in Excel. Our client was trying to link to files in SharePoint but these would open in the web browser rather than in Windows Explorer like they intended. Initially I had no idea how to solve this but was keen to get this solved for them. This one of the cool things about working in this way, the client comes to me with a problem, I either know how to fix it from past experience or have to research it.

Laptop and Stationary

Matthew’s Blog – The Course Continues

The second week of the Windows course is here, not much had changed but since I mainly talked about the course contents in the last blog post I thought I would talk about the areas outside of that a little more.

When it comes to other people on the course, there was about six of us on this one. The earlier Cyber Security course had about the same amount. There was a clear difference between how we interacted though. In the cyber course people generally kept themselves to themselves and there wasn’t much talking between one another. The instructor on this course had us create a group chat through WhatsApp.

Alex Cluna

Alex’s Vlog

Alex Clunas joined us four weeks ago on work experience. Alex’s period of work experience has now come to an end and he left us with this short video of his experiences here at The Apprentice Store. Thanks Alex… Don’t be a stranger!

Green Keyboard

Matthew’s Blog – Back to Glasgow!

This week was the start of the “Windows 7 Configuring and Installing and Configuring Windows 10” course. Everything was very similar to before, I was going to the same building, the same hotel and getting there the same way so I found myself looking forward to it and my nerves were kept at bay.

The first day of the course was the introductions, how the teaching was going to be laid out, what we were going to cover everything you would expect. We got given access to two official Microsoft books one on 7 and one on 10 respectively, these were online and weren’t physical copies but that didn’t bother me too much.

Matthew’s Blog – Clear the desk

There was one more week to go until I went away on another training course, this time around it was all about “Windows 7 Configuring & Installing and Configuring Windows 10” it was again in Glasgow so I was nowhere near as apprehensive as before, I was simply just looking forward to going. I’m sure you’ll hear all about that in next week’s blog post though so I’ll talk about the activities this week.

It was originally last on the list but after thinking about it I moved it straight to the top, a business proposal on cloud managed anti-virus software, due for the end of the month. Why was this promoted? The course! It would take up 2 weeks of my time so I had to get as much as possible done this week.

Matthew’s Blog – 3 month milestone

I have gone past my 3 months at the Apprentice Store and it’d been great so far but the workload was about to increase. Number 1 on the list was daily server checks for a client while they were on holiday, I really was clueless about this but looking forward to learning.

Thankfully I wasn’t thrown in the deep end and David spend time with me showing me the ins and outs of everything I needed to do. The process was to check Windows Event Logs which for those who don’t know log information outputted by the operating system and applications, including errors, this is what I was looking for. In addition to that, I had to check some specific pieces of software the client was running such as the anti-virus. Of course this was no use unless documented so this was put into a Excel spreadsheet and sent to the client daily.

Matthew’s Blog – Meeting the Clients

The main event for this week was a session on Office 365 for the client that we most recently did an Office 365 migration for. I was quite heavily involved with this migration so I was looking forward to meeting all the people I had spoken with on the phone for the last couple months.

Office 365This client was based down in Edinburgh and we were heading down on the Wednesday morning, I had some time in the week before my course to prepare but David had also given me Monday and Tuesday as well. About half way through Monday, I thought I wouldn’t need to do any more. I felt I had gathered all the information they needed to know and could present it.

Matthew’s Blog – More Travel, More Training

This week was the week of my Information Security Fundamentals course. While I had mentioned in previous blogs I was apprehensive, when it actually came to it I found I was more excited.

I arrived in Glasgow late on Sunday night and headed to the hotel. It was called “Point A”, it was very modern, you could change the colour of your lights in your room, they had USB ports on the plug sockets and a TV with on demand. The room I had didn’t have a window but it was still a nice place to stay and it’s in a really good location with Buchanan street, Sauchiehall street and more importantly the QA building very close by.

Matthew’s Blog – On the Road Again – A Trip to Orkney

It was a bit of an unusual start to this week, it definitely felt like it at least as I was getting up at 5am! The reason for this was a trip to Orkney to attend a business meeting with David. I’d never been to Orkney before and hadn’t been on a ferry in years so the 5am start didn’t really bother me all too much, I was looking forward to it.

Due to the amount of travelling on this day it was a good chance to talk about my job performance and generally all things Apprentice Store. Although my weaknesses were pointed out I’m glad they were as I know what I need to improve on and although there was a lot of deadtime in this day, I think the discussions we had were important for my development. It’s good to take an occasional break from the typical office environment, I found that it’s benefited me more than I thought.

Matthew’s Blog – Improvise!

The bulk of the work for my second Office 365 migration had now been completed with just a few finishing touches needing to be made. My focus shifted over to preparing for a workshop at the UHI for a group of RAF cadets.

David showed Vicky and I a website which had cyber security challenges and quizzes. The plan was to base the workshop around this. I found these really tricky, even some of the easy ones! I had a lot of questions but once these were answered and I’d tried the challenges a couple times I felt I was ready for the workshop.

Matthew’s Blog – Snail Mail to the Rescue!

The migration took place this week, our client could still access both old email and new email after we changed the mail flow so there was minimal disruption but I still felt the pressure to get things working properly. I had done all the necessary preparations but you never know what sort of problems could arise.

And a problem did arise, I was uploading email data to 365 from their server but found out that their connection couldn’t handle it. After a quick google search I found I could limit the bandwidth the upload command was using, this worked but it worked slowly. It was going to take 3 days at this rate, we’d be quicker posting the data!

Matthew’s Blog – Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
This week I was starting the work for my second Office 365 migration, this is for a far smaller company and we’re doing the service free of charge. This provides a great opportunity for me to take a bit more of a lead with my experience from the last migration.

I’ve learnt that IT requires a lot of planning so that was the first step, come up with a project plan. I used the one David had written for the last migration as a starting point and got to work. Now I had a rough idea of what I was doing I started to take action, using PowerShell to gather information about all the resources on our client’s server.

Matthew’s Blog – Phishing and Footprinting

I mentioned that we went to meet a client in Elgin last week, they were interested in getting Vicky to do a free penetration test on their network. I assumed that the work she would do for this would just go over my head but I was glad to find something I was familiar with. Phishing emails. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s basically a scam email claiming that you’ve won money in a competition or some other kind of scenario but in reality, they have some kind of malicious intent. What we were going to do was a bit different than the generic “You’ve won £5000!”, we were going to do a targeted phishing email with our client from Elgin as the target.

Office 365

Airan’s Blog – Office 365

The Benefits of Office 365

This article is all about Microsoft Office 365 and why more and more businesses are paying for it’s services/apps and why I think it’s beneficial. I’ll give examples on why, based on my experience using it and knowledge of it. I’m currently with The Apprentice Store where I’m doing work experience and getting a feel for some things in IT and all it has it offer. After being involved and observing the process of migrating a business to Office 365 I’m fully convinced and now hopefully I can make people reading this more convinced on the service.

QA Apprenticeship

Matthew’s Blog – Manuals, Cyber Essentials and Ethical Hacking!

Office 365, Cyber Essentials, Modern Apprenticeship work and even some ethical hacking.  It’s been a busy week. I’ll start with Office 365.

As expected some small problems did arise after the migration, for example, some emails were getting let through our client’s spam filter. The Apprentice Store currently aims to not only support but to educate people so our solution to this was to create user guides so that’s what I did. I also made a user guide covering how to use the Excel spreadsheets I mentioned in the last blog post. I do think they help me a lot, you have to know a subject well to teach it. Later on, I did a bit of Windows PowerShell, I seem to be using it more and more so I plan to invest some time learning it in the future.

Airan’s Blog – My Experience

My Experience at The Apprentice Store

I am now on my sixth week of work experience with The Apprentice Store and have recently been given certain tasks I need to do each week, such as a 500 word article for the end of each week on whatever topic I think is appropriate and then followed by eight posts relating to the chosen topic I’m working on for The Apprentice Store social media, these are to be written one week then posted the next. It’s all in preparation for the coming week.

Inverness Kart Raceway

Matthew’s Blog – The Week of our First Migration

This week the Office 365 cutover migration I mentioned in an earlier blog post was taking place so that’s what most of my work was oriented around. So, for the first part of this week I was using a lot of Excel.

It quickly became clear to me, even though I had respect for Excel, that there is so much more to it. David taught me how to use PivotTables and lookups so that the data our client received could be interpreted within minutes rather than hours. We also wrote some Visual Basic code that scanned down a spreadsheet filled with Names, Usernames and passwords and sent an email to them.  I had always considered Excel a pretty boring piece of software used for finances and graphs but sending almost 100 emails in a matter of seconds? That’s actually pretty cool.

Matthew’s Blog – Working From Home

This week I was working from home, Airan had a week off and David was on a Business trip. The first task I decided to tackle was a presentation comparing a Business Essentials and a Business plan for Office 365. I thought that business essentials only costing £3.80 user/month would mean it wouldn’t have much to offer, I was wrong. I worked on this for the majority of the day but not to completion. The next day I continued to work on it but being overwhelmed with the huge amount on offer within this plan I decided to divert from this and take a trip to the office as I needed to take some photos to complete apprenticeship work on health and safety. I came back, worked on the presentation but, yet again, not to completion.

Microsoft Office 365

Matthew’s Blog – Office 365 Migration

This week we were focusing on data normalisation and preparing for an Office 365 migration, which is essentially taking their existing email system and putting it into the cloud. Oh yeah, Airan has got a PC to work on too however certain parts of the taskbar are frozen so we also had the task of troubleshooting this.

So, the data normalisation, we were working on the Apprentice Store database. I was still struggling with the whole concept of normalisation so a lot of time was spent simply just practising this. I did try to implement what I had learned into Access and I was semi-successful.

Matthew’s Blog – A Busy Week

Day 1 – Work Experience Guy

We’ve got a new addition to the Apprentice Store, Airan Mackenzie! He’s going to be with us for 8 weeks and he’s writing a blog of his own. So, the first part of today was mainly spent trying to figure out what to do with these two routers David had found us. After a bit of trial and error we finally connected to them only to be prompted with “WARNING: SOMETHING SOMETHING BT EQUIPMENT!!!” so the investigation of the routers stopped there. In the afternoon we headed to the UHI to watch some 3rd year degree computing students presentation. Why? Because one of the group’s projects was to design a web application for us. It was an interesting experience and I was highly impressed with the work displayed.

Airan’s blog – week 1

Day 1 College presentation 02/05/17

After meeting and talking to David and getting to know Matthew we were tasked with factory resetting a Cisco 1841 and a Cisco 1941 router a lot of it was discussing with David and we didn’t get a lot of time to try get into it especially because the program we used wasn’t working for either router. Eventually we had to stop and head to UHI college to watch 3 groups present their final year project which was a web application they had 12 weeks to work as a team and design, one of the groups project was to make an Apprentice Store website and thus why we were there. After we got back to the office we talked together about our experience at the college and how the groups performed and David mentioned he was filling in at the Stem Hub and would be doing a presentation about cyber security and wondered if we didn’t mind helping.

North Highland Radio

Matthew’s Blog – Radio Star

Day 1 – But it’s a Tuesday

Coming back from the holidays I was still slightly overwhelmed and somewhat worried at the fact that I was going to get exposed to even more information. I’ve really started to realise now that some of these concepts you only really need an awareness of and there will come a point in time where you’ll learn it. Today was like most other days, a lot of reading and learning and a couple client meetings. One of which was about penetration testing, an area that interests me. Turns out it’s not as common as I thought. It’d be rare for us to carry something like this out but it does seem like a good bit of fun.

Matthew’s Blog – Week 1

First time writing a blog, first time in employment and my first week at The Apprentice Store. That’s what I’ll be writing about today.

Day one – New job

So, day one. I had been in before for 3 days which was basically like a long job interview so I had a rough idea of what to expect but still had no idea just how little I knew about the mystical world of IT. The day was spent firstly introducing me to the job, the kinds of things I would be doing, fire safety, my employment contract that sort of thing.  After that it was time to create an Office 365 account for me and then simply discussing any kind of questions I had. The rest of the days followed the same kind of layout, a brief discussion in the morning, a task or set of work for me do and in depth discussions of any questions I had throughout the day but I’ll tell you about them anyway.

Big Apprenticeship Event 2017

The Apprentice Store are excited to be attending The Big Apprenticeship Event being held at Inverness Royal Academy today, 9th March 2017. We’ll be there to chat about how you can get involved in our shared apprenticeship programme as an apprentice, a mentor or a business.

Be sure to come and visit us and have a go at our “CRACK THE PASSWORD” game!