Ben Thompson

Degree: BSc (Hons) Information Communication Technology

Placement: PHS Group

Since starting at PHS, I have worked within a number of different teams and undertaken several roles. This has been fantastic as I’ve gained so much experience and knowledge in a short space of time.

Ben’s host company, PHS Group, is one of the leading workplace services providers in the UK. Over the last 50 years, PHS has acquired a range of different businesses, and now offers over 250 products and services to companies both nationwide and overseas. The company employs more than 5,000 staff members over 140 sites in the UK and Europe.

Why did you choose the University of South Wales & Network 75?

When I was in sixth form, I knew that I wanted to go to university to further my education. I did lots of research into different courses in different universities including the University of South Wales. Whilst looking on the university’s website I came across the Network75 scheme; the opportunity to study the degree that I really wanted along with gaining 5 years of work experience really appealed to me - this made me decide straight away that this was the university for me!

What does your role in PHS involve?

I am currently a Junior Business Analyst; this includes producing detailed user requirements documents as well as testing different pieces of software to make sure that they are working as expected before being released to the rest of the business. Since starting at PHS I have worked within a number of different teams and undertaken several roles; this has been fantastic as I’ve gained so much experience and knowledge in a short space of time.

Do you have any advice for students considering the Network75 scheme?

The prospect of studying for 5 years may seem like a long time, but it seriously does fly by. It has been a really enjoyable experience, and I’m looking forward to the next 2 years on the scheme.

Each year I have found that I am doing something in work that is really relevant to what I am studying in university. During my second year I studied an IT Service Management module. This module is basically the understanding of how a company should work using ITIL and ISO standards. PHS makes sure every employee has an ITIL qualification and follows the ISO standards as closely as possible. This really helped when I was trying to understand the content of this module as I had practical examples to refer to. I was also able to ask my work colleagues for help when I didn’t understand a particular part and their experience was invaluable.

Whilst it is strange thinking that my school friends are graduating while I’m still at university I know that when I graduate I will be in a much better position than they are. They all have student debt in excess of £30,000, no relevant work experience, and also have not managed to find employment where as I will have a degree, 5 years of work experience, and no student debt. With the Network75 schemes employability record as well as the money, time, and effort PHS have invested in me throughout the 5 years there is also a very good chance they will offer me employment upon graduating.

I’m really glad I made the decision to apply for the scheme. Knowing what I know after three years on the scheme and the experience I’ve been given I would still make the same decision to study at the University of South Wales and to complete my degree through Network75.