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North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

The call is out for the region’s employers to support the Dynamo North East IT Apprentice Hub


Sep 18, 2016

The Dynamo North East IT Apprentice Hub is to officially launch after two years of successful pilots in the region.

By working with employers and young people the Dynamo Hub has created invaluable IT training, work experience and career opportunity in the region’s expanding technology sector.

A roll call of some of the region’s most prominent employers including Sage UK, Aspire Technology Solutions, Orange Bus, ITPS, Cofely / ENGIE, Geek Talent, On Board Pro, SGP Consulting, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council have all been involved in the pioneering programme and taken on apprentices as result.

The Dynamo IT Hub supports businesses large or small through each major step of setting up and running an apprenticeship program, from advertising and recruitment to training and assessment, and putting in place a framework to make it easier for IT businesses to take on apprentices. The North East was the first region in the UK to attempt this type of approach in IT.

North East employers have the chance to sign up and support the Dynamo North East IT Apprentice Hub and a launch event is being held on September 19 at Sage UK followed by the start of the first course the following day.

Louise Ball, executive director of Baltic Training Services the training company responsible for delivering the Dynamo Hub, said: “With over 2,000 IT vacancies last year that couldn’t be filled we are calling on the region’s employers to sign up and support the Dynamo North East IT Apprentice Hub. The pilot programme has already proved itself successful at offering young people a route to a sustainable career in IT and employers access to a trained talent pool of people able to hit the ground running at the start of their apprenticeship.

“We are holding a launch event for prospective employers on Monday 19 September at Sage UK head office followed by the first Dynamo IT Hub starting at Rotterdam House on Newcastle Quayside the following day.”

Bob Paton CBE, a co-founder and vice chair of technology led employer group Dynamo North East and a key figure behind the creation of the IT Apprentice Hub said: “It is well documented that the North East has an IT skills gap and I’m very proud that with the Dynamo North East IT Apprentice Hub we have led the way in providing an easily accessible blue print for success for both ambitious young people and thriving employers offering IT apprenticeships.

“I spent my professional life enjoying a successful career in IT and I’m keen others should be able to benefit from what is an absolutely golden opportunity to reap the rewards of a sector that shows no signs of slowing down.”

Using Dynamo North East’s extensive network of IT employers, the apprentices have the opportunity to gain valuable real-life experience with some of the region’s leading IT businesses, while gaining the qualifications they need to start their career.

From an employer’s perspective, they can recruit from a pool of dedicated, driven individuals who have already demonstrated commitment and are appropriately qualified.

Business testimonials

One of the businesses involved in this year’s hub is Campus North, recognised as one of the best providers of co-working and event spaces for tech meetups, start-ups and established businesses in Europe.

Lyndsey Britton, head of Campus North, said: “We’re delighted to be giving young apprentices an opportunity to gain experience at Campus North. They’ll be able to get invaluable hands-on learning with our diverse range of start-ups and the digital community here at the north east’s tech HQ.

“Offering opportunities like this for young people also supports our own initiative Tech for Life which aims to break down barriers and help plug the skills gap, and develop the next generation of tech and digital entrepreneurs. This is a great scheme from Dynamo and Baltic Training and we’re proud to be part of it.”

Similarly, online print destination company printed.com has signed up to welcome to the hub.

Lee McIntosh, chief operating officer of printed.com, said: “printed.com is pleased to be partnering with Baltic Training Services on the Dynamo Apprentice Hub. We believe this to be a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with local talent to create a pipeline to our workforce of the future. Working with printed.com will offer an apprentice access to a wealth of experience and support within a youthful company in a period of growth.”

Online retail site Red Hot Sunglasses has also taken on apprentices through the hub.  Rachel Breslin, e-commerce and digital marketing manager, said: “We’re very excited to be part of the Dynamo Apprentice Hub and provide the young people involved in the project with an insight into the working world. As a business we understand the importance of gaining work experience, learning new skills and gaining confidence within a working environment, it’s nice to be able to give something back.”

Oliver Scott, 17, from Newcastle, is working towards his Level 3 IT apprenticeship with Baltic Training Services working at ENGIE as a network engineer apprentice, supporting North Tyneside Council by helping with their network issues in schools, libraries and care homes throughout the region.

He completed his Level 2 qualification in the IT Apprentice Hub pilot last year where he achieved seven distinctions and a full Microsoft qualification.

To book tickets for the free launch of the Dynamo IT Apprentice Hub at Sage on 19 September, you can visit the event page at:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dynamo-apprentice-hub-launch-tickets-26698872045/

If you would like more information on the Dynamo IT Apprentice Hub call Ruth Watson on 07738 734 200 or emailruth.watson@baltictraining.com.

Case Studies

Oliver Scott

 Oliver Scott, 17, from Newcastle, is working towards his Level 3 IT apprenticeship with Baltic Training Services.

He is currently placed at ENGIE as a Network Engineer Apprentice, supporting North Tyneside Council by helping with their network issues in schools, libraries and care homes throughout the region.

From a young age Oliver has had a knack for the technical, he said: “I’ve always known I wanted to work in IT. When I was about 10 my mum brought home a load of old and broken computers, so I decided to take them apart and see if I could make a super computer. It blew up in my face a few times and obviously didn’t work, but I loved the idea of doing that for a living.”

Oliver attended John Spence High School in North Shields where he enjoyed his IT classes but was unsure of his next move.

He said: “When it was time for me to leave school I still hadn’t decided on what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to go. I knew that I wanted to work in IT, but all of the college courses I looked at weren’t right for me and to be honest, I don’t think I would have gotten anything out of them.

“I was starting to panic about what to do, all of the courses were filling up fast and even though I didn’t feel they were the best move I felt like I had to do something. It was after my school prom that I saw the apprenticeship with Baltic Training through their new IT Hub.”

Oliver completed his Level 2 qualification in the IT Apprentice Hub pilot last year where he achieved seven distinctions and a full Microsoft qualification.

As well as working towards his qualification full time, Oliver is completing the Duke of Edinburgh Award, is a dedicated scout leader and is learning to drive.

He said: “I’m always busy, but it’s easy for me to fit in the work I need to do for my apprenticeship because I like self-learning and have always taught myself how to do things, like taking apart computers and the basic IT stuff.

“The IT apprenticeship with Baltic Training has been a great way for me to turn my hobby into a career and develop my technical knowledge.

“I’m really enjoying my current role in networking and would like to get more experience in desktop support as my next step. After getting the hands on experience on the job I know this is definitely where I want my career to be heading.”

Lee Fitches

Lee Fitches, 21, from Westmoor near Killingworth, left college after his first year to complete an IT apprenticeship through the Dynamo IT Apprentice Hub.

He attended TyneMet college where he was studying IT and Computing at A Level, but seized the opportunity

He said: “I’ve always been interested in technology and wanted a career in IT.  After my first year at college I got offered the apprenticeship through Baltic Training Services and though it was a great opportunity to learn and hands on training at the same time.”

Lee started with the Dynamo Apprentice Hub in 2015 as part of their pilot scheme.  He was able to gain the qualifications and experience he needed through Baltic Training Services to progress onto an IT apprenticeship.

He is currently working towards his Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate qualification in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 while working with North Tyneside City Learn to get the practical experience he needs.

He added: “On a day to day basis I’m responsible for helping primary schools with their IT needs, whether it is a PC that won’t turn on or an interactive whiteboard that doesn’t work.”

Lee is looking forward to a bright future in with North Tyneside City Learn. He said: “IT is the future and there’s never been a better time to get involved. I’m really thankful to have found a job that I love and be able to get the qualifications I need at the same time.

“Hopefully when I’ve finished my training there will be funding available for me to progress within the company to a full time engineer, but if not I know that I can go to another employer with some work experience and the right training already under my belt.”

Fact Box – About the Hub

  • The hub involves an intensive IT skills training course with technical content aimed at preparing young adults for their first role in the IT sector, including a level two Diploma qualification in IT, interview practice and CV writing guidance.
  • Those who successfully complete the course are then given the opportunity to progress to a paid full time 12 month Level 3 apprenticeship with an IT employer.
  • The hub even offers some vocational Microsoft qualifications as part of the programme with elements that include security, networking, programming, digital marketing plus soft skills including instilling the values of good planning, personal responsibility, attitude, and communication skills. 

By Emily