Timothy Deakin joins Softwerx from the Netherhall School and Sixth Form Centre and Joshua Oliver joins Softwerx from Swavesey Village College. Both will spend two years working towards a City and Guild Level 3 Apprenticeship in ICT and a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) accreditation via work based and e-learning. The scheme is designed to give 16-19 year olds a comprehensive apprenticeship opportunity that includes £14,000 of training over a two-year period.
Softwerx are not new to the idea of apprenticeships, having previously employed a couple of young people through the Pearson-backed initiative in 2012. David Smart, CEO of Softwerx, who is somewhat of an apprenticeship evangelist says "This scheme appears to be a reasonably well-kept secret, but is a fantastic opportunity for young people, with over 3,700 young apprentices nationally being taken on in the last three years. The salary is (or should be) largely irrelevant and to a certain extent, so are the qualifications; it's great to have them and of course they do hold some significant value, however the real value is the experience that these young people will gain working within a small and expert team. This is the part money cannot buy, it's the first step on the ladder that for many will be a rewarding lifetime career in IT and in essence is a gateway to the working world." Smart goes onto say "I can understand the negative press that is sometimes associated with apprenticeship schemes, cheap labour etc., but for us it is really quite the opposite. Coaching and mentoring Apprentices actually costs us money and in this respect it is an investment in an individual and an opportunity for us to shape them – and in turn we hope that they will stay with us for the longer term.'
We spoke with our Technical Director, Adriaan Bekker after he returned from his visit in Washington D.C. to attend the Microsoft Inspire event. He was among 17,000 other attendees from around the world and from a wide range of organisations visiting the event.