Belfast Metropolitan College student Nicholas O’Hagan has gained employment with Northgate Managed Services after completing their Apprenticeship Scheme. The scheme offers school leavers, young people and those out of work the opportunity to develop a career within the ICT sector.
The 18-month ‘earn while you learn’ programme is targeted at school-leavers or those who are by-passing university. In addition to studying for their NVQ (levels 2 and 3) the apprentices gain hands-on experience across a variety of roles and departments within Northgate.
Belfast Met has established strategic links with many employers in Northern Ireland, enabling students to gain the real benefits that apprenticeships can offer. Students have the opportunity to come to College and learn the theory, consult with staff and develop their skills and then take them into the workplace. The partnership between Belfast Met and Northgate is a prime example of this and is something that the college wants to develop with many other employers.
Nicholas did not follow the traditional apprenticeship route and was originally studying a degree in history and politics but he realised after the first year that it was not for him. He wanted to gain a qualification to enhance his career opportunities and he saw the apprenticeship as a way of doing that. Finalist in the 2012 Apprentice of the Year Awards, Nicholas has excelled in his IT career and is hoping to move on to study for a HNC in Computing and Systems Development and has been nominated for VQ Learner of the Year Award.
Nicholas’s experience proves that the apprenticeship principles of a carefully structured and delivered programme of learning and experience is now turning out high-quality employees in new skill areas, such as IT.
Nicholas said “Applying to get on to this apprenticeship was the best thing I have done. It has given me so many options and I am constantly learning new things and developing my skills and I would recommend it to anyone. I now have an industry recognised qualification as well as a full-time job, what more can I say”.
Andy Ross, chief executive of Northgate Managed Services, said: “We have been very fortunate with the calibre of our apprentices to date. Each has shown a real passion for the job, and a real willingness to learn. Nicholas is a great example of this, and of what can be achieved. I hope his success will act as a real motivator to those that follow in his footsteps.”