Newcastle City Council backs innovative IT Apprentice Hub



The UK’s first IT Apprentice Hub has been backed by Newcastle City Council which is providing the training facilities for the Rising Star students studying in the first Newcastle based course.

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.”

To find out more about the IT Apprentice Hub
visit the Baltic Training Services website or call the general number 01325 731050 or email

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About Paul Champion

Some have called me a leader, and a entrepreneur, they say I have integrity, presence and skills to ensure continuous improvement and success in whatever challenges I face. They also tell me that I am positive, resilient and motivating. I say, I'm just a normaI guy from Gateshead in the North of England, who started as an apprentice engineer. I have been in the right place at the right time and in the wrong place at the wrong time! I have successfully initiated and led complex organizations and situations to completion and success, and I have been in some jobs where success seemed untouchable. Mainly though, I have tried to learn everyday, help people to progress and learn the skills they need to be successful. I have had the privilege of working with some great people locally across the UK and more recently internationally in Asia, Europe and now USA, where I am lucky enough to work for where I am head of 3aaa USA. This website is just me having an outlet to talk about all those thoughts, ideas and things I learn that pass through my head every day when I face the challenge of doing business. I will also rant on about how great apprenticeships are, and how you can help change peoples lives through them. After all thats how I got to do the great things that I have done, and also I am still an apprentice everyday! All I ask is that if you find it interesting then leave a comment and share what you read. THANK YOU.

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