case study

Case Study: Dan

“It was Bev McGowan at The Specialists Hub who spotted the potential in me”: How Dan changed his career path with one decision   


Meet Dan, one of The Specialists Hub’s apprentices and success stories. Having spent many years in Financial Services, Dan was ready for a career change and had been interested in the Tech industry for a while. After years of trying to make this change, he was hearing the same sentence repeatedly: “you’ve got loads of experience but you haven’t got the skills!” This is a phrase that many job applicants are no strangers to, especially those trying to break into an industry that is perfect yet unfamiliar to them. But Dan managed to break the mould.  

“It was Bev McGowan at The Specialists Hub who spotted the potential in me”, says Dan, going on to tell us how Bev noticed Dan’s eagerness to get into the Tech industry, paired with his passion for Cyber Security. This combination alongside Dan’s breadth of experience left no doubt that he would achieve his aspirations in partnership with The Specialists Hub. Read on for Dan’s insights on life in the Tech world, his initial thoughts on being an older apprentice, and lots of tips for anyone considering this pathway! 


What made you want to change careers from Financial Services to the Tech industry? 

I’ve always been interested in data and tech, from buying and programming a Raspberry PI with my sons at Christmas, to utilising data (to garner insights) at a large insurance company, enabling our distribution teams to drive sales across product verticals. I even implemented a CRM system and used WebEx as a sales tool across UK and international sales channels, long before anyone had even heard of Teams or Zoom. 



What do your day-to-day duties look like at FWD View? 

FWD View Ltd is a boutique data transformation consultancy that offers services in the information security, data protection, and automated governance space. Our clients are global banks and asset managers. As a small but focused consultancy, my time is split between delivering services to existing clients and given my background in business development, proactively looking for new consults.  


Do you think there’s a preconceived idea that all apprentices are teenagers? And if so, did you have any hang-ups about enrolling as an apprentice? 

I certainly did. I taught myself to code JavaScript and Python thinking that with this new skill, along with my background, I would easily transition into tech. After multiple interviews, this clearly wasn’t the case. I soon realised that I would have to find a different approach. I met The Specialists Hub and finally managed to merge my skills and experience into the consultancy role at FWD View. 


Following on from that, do you have any other thoughts or observations on what it’s like to be an older apprentice? 

I see the apprenticeship as an opportunity to continue acquiring knowledge, skills and meet new people.  


To what extent do you feel that your apprenticeship assisted with the progression of your career? 

It has opened a whole new tech world to me that would’ve otherwise been inaccessible. It’s enabled me to gain a new skill set quickly and apply that to my existing skills and experience. 


You’ve spoken about how The Specialists Hub have supported you during your apprenticeship. Can you outline a specific time where you thought the support was great? 

It was Bev McGowan at The Specialists Hub who spotted the potential in me and my eagerness to get into tech (particularly cyber security). She aligned my experience with her huge network of contacts to enable me to change careers and join FWD View on an apprenticeship. The Specialists Hub offers a very high quality of apprenticeship with regular (virtual) masterclasses delivered by Len Shand (an expert with many years of delivering cyber apprenticeships). The course is structured, and the timetable, whatever your pathway, is set out at the beginning. We obviously must commit to self-study, and Len also provides direction here too. All communication is clear, and you know where you stand and what is expected from yourself. There is always support offered whether that be technical (course related), administrative or wellbeing from all the staff at The Specialists Hub. I’m part way through my apprenticeship, and in addition to meeting my fellow apprentices, I must say I have enjoyed every second of it. 


Any words of advice to others who may be wanting to break into the Tech industry or considering an apprenticeship? 

The tech industry is vast from Coding, AI, Cyber Security and a million niches in between. I’d suggest focusing on an area that interests you and find out as much as you can about that sector. Search out free courses online (there are loads!). Build a network via LinkedIn. Tailor your CV for every application and just go for it! 


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