As an Apple Registered Training Centre, Newcastle City Learning Centre possesses state-of-the-art IT facilities and expertise to provide learning opportunities to both a large city-wide collaborative of schools and more recently to the young people, training providers and partners involved in this exciting new IT Apprentice Hub.
There is a 2,000 North East vacancy skills gaps in the IT sector alone and the new IT hub has been developed by regional employer network Dynamo North East in partnership with leading training company Baltic Training Services.
Louise Ball operations director for Baltic Training Services said: “The North East has a vibrant growing IT sector and what IT employers need is appropriately qualified young people able to hit the ground running when they secure entry to paid apprenticeship level 3 roles in order to sustain the growth.
“The idea of the IT Apprentice Hub is to fill this requirement providing a pool of talent that can be drawn on right here in the North East therefore not forcing employers to look beyond regional boundaries.
“We are delighted that Newcastle City Council has collaborated on this project providing some wonderful facilities that the young people on this course will really benefit from. It amounts to efficient use of existing resources and we are very grateful to the Council for having the vision to get involved.”
The first Newcastle IT Apprentice Hub launched this week and is entirely government funded coming at no cost to the students.
It is comprised of a 15 week Rising Stars programme offering an intensive IT skills training course with technical content aimed at preparing young adults for their first role in the IT sector. The North East is the first region to attempt this type of approach in IT and if successful it could be rolled out across the UK. It has already been successfully piloted in Newcastle at Quorum Business Park where eight young people went through the programme with seven successfully employed as IT apprentices.
IT Hub trainer Michael Carrick, who is currently delivering the first course in Newcastle’s Computer Learning Centre, said: “A real disconnect exists across the UK between young people who present the raw talent for the industry and the desire of those people to access the industry. Common misconceptions that IT is boring, or only for those strong at math, or not really for women, are all inhibitors that prevent people from applying in the first place.
“On top of this it is labour intensive for employers to bring someone without experience and specialist skills into the IT part of their business. The IT Hub addresses these issues for employers and students.”
Travis Gallagher, 17, from Whitley Bay is one of the Rising Stars on the Newcastle IT Hub. He said: “I got 10 GCSEs but then really struggled with being in a school environment. This course has been great so far I’m treated like an adult in the workplace.
“The fact that I’ll get the opportunity to secure Microsoft accredited qualifications that would have cost hundreds for nothing is just fantastic. We get £40 a week toward living and travel and the opportunity to secure a paid IT apprenticeship with an employer at the end.”
Pat Richie chief executive of Newcastle City Council said: “Our education division is working hard to maximise the Council’s resources in order to nurture the talent in the young people of Newcastle and the wider region. The IT Hub which has been developed with a specific need in mind, in terms of the region’s IT skills gap, is a fantastic way to harness this young talent. It will provide a launch pad, with the help of our facilities at the City Learning Centre, for many careers in IT.”
Giselle Stewart, board member of Dynamo North East and general manager of Newcastle gaming design studio Reflections part of Ubisoft, said: “We are absolutely delighted to help in any way we can to reach out to young people and get them on the first rung on the road to a career in IT.
“We must also make it easier for employers, especially small enterprises to take on IT apprentices, the new IT Hub launched in Newcastle and Sunderland is a fantastic way to streamline this process for employers and nurture the growth in the IT sector in the North East.”