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IT apprentices land full-time roles at local high school

ByCharley Williams

Jan 23, 2017

Two young IT apprentices have landed themselves full-time roles working in a Northumberland high school following the successful completion of their studies.

Ashington High School works in partnership with Northumberland County Council’s Learning and Skills Service – Adult Learning, to deliver its apprenticeship schemes. The school has enjoyed great success converting its apprentices to fully-qualified members of staff since the partnership was founded 4 years ago and now has three former apprentices on the payroll.

The school’s latest recruits are 20-year-old Matthew Fenwick, who has been appointed as Web & Media Technician following his apprenticeship at the school, alongside 21-year-old Kyle Marshall who has been appointed as an IT Technician.

Matthew’s role within the school is to help keep the website up-to-date, maintain the school’s social media accounts and intranet system which is used by staff, students and parents, as well as assisting the school’s media manager with content generation, photography and graphic design tasks.

Kyle’s role involves a lot of practical work which ranges from day-to-day activities such as resetting passwords and fixing basic computer problems to more complex tasks like tracing and running network cables and administering the school’s firewall.

Head of IT Services at Ashington High School, Duncan Wraight said:

“During the course of their apprenticeships, Matthew and Kyle became invaluable members of our team so we were delighted to be able to offer them full-time employment at the end of their course of study.

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants a practical education to gain skills, knowledge and experience. Although theoretical learning invariably has its place, apprenticeships have become a viable alternative to courses of higher education as in a lot of industries, practical experience is widely regarded as more valuable than a degree. This is definitely the case with IT”

“Because technology is advancing all the time, and curriculum content on IT courses can’t be updated as frequently, you find that courses end up being somewhat generic in terms of what they try to teach, which is not ideal when the students come into a practical working environment. This is why apprenticeship schemes are so valuable, because students get the best of both worlds.”

Following a framework devised by Northumberland County Council’s Learning and Skills Service – Adult Learning, despite the differences in their job roles, Matthew and Kyle studied for the same Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in IT during their apprenticeships.

As part of the framework, Matthew and Kyle completed various different course modules which allowed them to customise their learning to make it more relevant to the roles they are required to perform in work. Their progress was reviewed every 12 weeks by their training officer, who also conducted observations in the workplace. In addition to their diplomas in IT, they also completed qualifications in Maths, English and IT functional skills.

Training Officer at Northumberland County Council’s Learning and Skills Service – Adult Learning, Julie Hindhaugh said:

“Matthew and Kyle have received excellent training at Ashington High School which has motivated them to work hard to complete their training and achieve their goals of gaining full-time employment at the school. The knowledge and experience they have gained both on-the-job and during their qualification means they will be an asset to the school for many years to come.”