Phil joined us last July and has since become a vital part of the Development team.

Alongside his day-to-day role, he’s also working towards his Level 3 Diploma in Software and Web Development.

Hi Phil! First things first, how did you come to applying for an apprenticeship?

I had been working at a foreign exchange company for a few months, but I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted a career in something I was more invested in, and I found this in software development.

My brother is also a software developer so I naturally took an interest in it as well. I began teaching myself online and found that I really enjoyed it – so I started considering it as a career.

The problem came when I began looking for a job. Every company I looked at wanted either experience or a degree, neither of which I had in the subject.

I then considered an apprenticeship and realised it might be a great opportunity for me to get my foot in the door. After an apprenticeship, you might have the chance to stay with the company – this was the kind of opportunity I’d been looking for.

A year later and I’m now in talks with Hireserve to continue my education in the subject further, which I’m really excited about.

That sounds brilliant. What’s your day-to-day role like currently?

My job is to work through tickets – these are items submitted by customers which notify us of enhancements they’d like to be made or bugs that need to be fixed. I then investigate these to identify where in the software the issue is coming from, and then work through the solution. I work on the back-end of the product, in the parts that applicants don’t see (the opposite of the work Lewis usually does).

Okay – so, why is your role so important to Hireserve?

It’s vital to keep the customer experience in mind and to make sure they can get everything they can out of the system.

Being able to raise issues for team members like me to work on means that customers benefit from enhancements that will make their jobs easier – which is basically the ultimate end-goal.

Is there anything that you’re particularly proud of that you’ve worked on as of late?

I’m proud of everything! It’s always great to see my efforts come to fruition, and see them working for our clients.

You took some extended leave for a long holiday recently – can you share your experiences of this?

Of course! I took a recent trip to Tanzania to volunteer, which was originally booked in as a 4 week trip but I ended up spending almost 5 weeks there.

While I was out there I was approached by someone who was going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro (somewhere I’d always wanted to climb), and invited me to join them. I quickly realised this might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, so I got in contact with our Operations Director Karen, to discuss extending my leave.

Once the right checks were made, she let me know the leave was approved. Karen told me that she knew it was a great opportunity for me and that she wanted me to take it.

Karen’s approach made me feel like a really valued member of the team. I was a little surprised by the flexibility, but it’s totally in line the business’ attitude towards flexible working and the company culture as a whole.

Brilliant! What did it mean for you to be given the chance to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

It was an incredibly special opportunity for me. I did it for my dad – it was one of the mountains he always wanted to climb.

Phil at the peak of Kilimanjaro
Hireserve’s Phil at Kilimanjaro


What an incredible experience. And here is Karen’s decision to approve Phil’s request for additional leave, in her own words:

“When Phil rang me from the desert I was concerned that he had got himself into trouble and needed help – then the line went dead and I couldn’t reach him! That’s when WhatsApp came to the rescue, and Phil explained the opportunity he had.

I knew immediately that I wanted him to be able to take the opportunity but I also needed to see how his extended leave would impact our work and commitments. A few phone calls later and it was a yes. I knew that climbing Kilimanjaro was really important to Phil and wanted to support him, and when someone comes to you with an opportunity of a lifetime you just have to help make it happen for them.

Whenever he talks about it now his face lights up and I know it was an experience that he will value forever. I’m proud of him for doing it and so pleased that we were able to help him achieve it by simply giving him our support and time.” – Karen Ovenden, Operations Director

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About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.