National Apprenticeship Week 2021: Callum’s Story

Published 12 February 2021

Hear from Callum, a Project Professional Apprentice, about his fledgling career with DE&S and the opportunities opening up for him.

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It’s absolutely magic for Callum Weaver to be on a DE&S apprenticeship scheme.

The 23-year-old finished sixth form college after completing his exams to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a professional magician.

After five years working for a technology retailer, he joined the organisation as a Project Professional apprentice. Callum keeps up his passion for performing tricks in his spare time, as well as being the president of the Bristol Society of Magic, recently celebrating 100 years as a club.

Having worked in the Ship domain for his first year, he is now on another 12-month placement with the Submarine Delivery Agency. But are there any transferrable skills from magician to project professional apprentice at DE&S?

“It is so transferable because, doing magic, you get to know people and also work with people,” said Callum.

“And also, the performing as well. You are standing up in front of people and showing them something, putting them into a performance and shining a spotlight on them.

“Everyone’s just been so nice and, in the teams that I’ve had the opportunity of working with, the people are just wonderful.”

“I always think that working within DE&S is all about putting a spotlight on other people and making sure that everyone’s getting the most out of what you’re doing.

“When I was working in the office before COVID there was a lot of presentation stuff and magic also gives you the ability to speak in front of others.”

The highlights of Callum’s apprenticeship have included visiting Govan shipyard in Glasgow, where the fleet of Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) were built.

“This is going to sound really boring, but what I’ve enjoyed most is just learning,” he added. “Everyone’s just been so nice and, in the teams that I’ve had the opportunity of working with, the people are just wonderful. It’s great being valued as a person and being rewarded.”

Having already passed his Association for Project Management exam, he has been given the tools and support to continue his development while working from home.

“The team have been really, really supportive for the whole of the scheme so far, but also since COVID-19,” he said.

“And despite not being able to go to the office, there’s still lots of opportunities. We’ve been able take part in outreach programmes, so I’m actually project-managing a mentoring scheme.

“As part of that, I’m organising DE&S apprentices to go into local schools and communities, virtually.”

To keep up his productivity and concentration, Callum uses the Pomodoro technique, which includes 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break.

He also follows a mental health programme called Thrive, having suffered from emetophobia – the fear of vomiting – for most of his life.

“Those thinking styles and ways of being have really helped me thrive during lockdown,” he added.

“In terms of benefits for actually working with DE&S, there’s so many different benefits. Firstly, the people that you work with and the different teams.

“But there’s lots of benefits in terms flexible working hours, and there’s obviously the defence discount servicewhich is like a lifetime NUS student card, which is really great.”

For more information, visit our Apprenticeship and Graduate Schemes page.

Infographic showing stats about our apprentices, while two young people smile in an office

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