Employer Case Study: Integra Schools - Training the future of the IT industry
Gloucestershire College works with employers across the region to train both new apprentices and current employees through IT and cyber apprenticeships.
One of our key employer partners is South Gloucestershire Council and Integra Schools - the trading arm of the Council. We have worked with their team for a number of years now training IT apprentices. We caught up with Moira Watt Abley, ICT Engineer and Service Desk Officer at Integra Schools to find out why apprenticeships play an important role within their business.
Why does your company choose to recruit apprentices?
IT as an industry suits the apprenticeship model in the practical application of the classroom gained knowledge in the workplace. For Integra IT as a department, it gives us the opportunity to employ people we see potential and commitment in and who want to succeed in IT but may not yet have the qualifications for the role.
How have apprenticeships benefited both your team?
Having an apprentice gives us as a department the chance to take on suitable qualified staff who have gained a good understanding of how we work within IT and also within South Gloucestershire Council. The apprentice gets a good overview of a wide variety of IT related modalities including software, infrastructure, mobile device management, hardware, purchasing, service-desk and the various support teams that are a part of an IT support company.
Tell us about how apprentices can progress in your business.
Apprentices are encouraged to apply for the IT Service-desk positions if and when they become available. Ideally, we would always hope to offer this role to any suitable apprentice. Most service-desk technicians, once they have gained the relevant experience, can then progress to becoming Field Technicians when these roles become available.
How have you managed your apprentices during lockdown?
IT has a close working relationship as a team. The mentoring continued via remote and in-person contact. Some of the work covered by the apprentice involved hardware repairs and site visits. Our apprentice had support on site when needed with social distancing measures in place. Other meetings such as 121’s took place remotely when WFH on MS Teams. Teams was also used as a messaging service.
Do you have any top tips for other employers about how to best mentor apprentices?
Each apprentice is different and therefore requires different support. We chose to start our apprentices 6 months in advance of them starting the college course to ensure that they become accustomed to the work place and working practices of the department prior to taking on the additional study that the course involved.
Why are apprenticeships so important for the IT industry?
The practical application of the classroom gained knowledge would suggest that the end result should be more successful and that the apprentice is more employable. IT is a problem solving industry and peer to peer mentoring plus observation & ‘hands on’ experience is crucial to consolidating knowledge.
Would you recommend investing in apprenticeships to other businesses in Gloucestershire?
Yes, I personally would recommend this as this is a good way to gain quality staff and to assist with future proofing or planning for your business.
Recruit an apprentice for your business
We have talented, prospective apprentices apply to us all year round. Our Business Hub team can help your organisation to recruit an apprentice and match you with new talent to grow your business. Apprenticeships are also ideal for training and upskilling your current employees, providing invaluable career progression routes and new skills for your business. Explore our range of IT and Cyber apprenticeship programmes and contact our team via: email@example.com or call: 01452 563400 for more information.