New Apprenticeship will offer sweet reward says London IT firm

A brand new Apprenticeship in IT skills is helping one London based IT support business to grow its own workforce in response to a shortage of skilled IT personnel.
COBRA's IT team
COBRA's IT team
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It Solutions


Finchley Road - London, Greater - UK

Sept. 22, 2011 - PRLog -- A recognised shortage of IT workers in the UK has prompted a North London IT business to ‘grow its own’ workforce for future expansion rather than recruit staff from overseas, thanks to a new Apprenticeship and a partnership with its local college.

Edgware based IT company, COBRA, who are an IT support and solutions specialist for local SMEs in and around North London, have taken advantage of funding support from the National Apprenticeship Service to employ nineteen year old Dean Beckett as the company’s first recruit on the Advanced Apprenticeship in IT.

Developed by the National IT Partnership, part of the Microsoft Academy, in association with the computing trade association, CompTIA, the seven month training programme is being delivered in partnership with the College of Haringey, Enfield and North London.

Leading to a Level 3 national qualification with a pathway to significant continuing professional development opportunities, Apprentices are trained to strip down and repair computers, change faulty parts, troubleshoot and diagnose software and hardware faults on a PC and understand the basics of a server network.

According to e-skills, the Sector Skills Council for the IT and Telecoms industries, the demand for employees with specialist computing skills has outstripped supply for the first time in two years. Vacancies for ICT staff rose to 101,000 positions in the third quarter of 2010, while the number of ‘ready candidates’ declined to just over 100,000. The increased demand reflected the fact that ICT staff are less likely to be unemployed than workers in other sectors. Unemployed ICT workers fell to 3.1% compared with 8.3% for the workforce as a whole.

Responding to the challenges faced by businesses, COBRA has developed a ‘Pick n’ Mix’ approach to IT. This provides clients with a completely bespoke and organic approach, as opposed to more traditional ‘boxed in’ IT support packages.

Commenting on the new Apprenticeship, David Share, Managing Director, COBRA, said:

“Succession planning is crucial for any business and we see Apprenticeships as a foundation of the UK’s future economy. We want to develop home grown talent and skills over a sustained period, so we can recoup the rewards that skills investment will bring. It’s our intention to offer more opportunities to young people.”

Research has shown that companies investing in training are 2.5 times more likely to survive during an economic downturn or recession. In a nation-wide poll carried out by Populus in 2009, the overwhelming majority of employers (92%) felt that apprentices made a valuable contribution to the business within six months of them completing their apprenticeship or earlier. The survey also found that businesses believed that investing in apprenticeships made them more competitive (80%), provided higher overall productivity (76%) and contributed to lower staff turnover (80%).

David Share, Managing Director, COBRA (left), intends to expand the firm’s ‘Pick n’ Mix’ IT support and solution proposition with the help of new IT Apprentice, Dean Beckett.

Notes to Editors:

The NiTP Advanced IT Apprenticeship scheme has a unique advantage over other IT training providers in that course tuition takes place within an established connection of colleges throughout the UK. The course is completed in seven months, which means that employers save money and have access to fully qualified IT staff in a shorter period of time.
   There were an estimated 1,093,000 IT and Telecoms professionals working in the UK during the final quarter of 2010, the highest number ever recorded.
   There were approximately 37,000 IT and Telecoms professionals that were unemployed at this time and the corresponding unemployment rate for these professionals stands at 3.3%.
   Actual earnings for IT staff increased slightly during the final quarter and at £38,500 pa the average salary of full-time IT staff was well above the UK average of £28,000 pa.
   Just under a quarter (23%) of IT staff reported that they had received job-related education/training in the previous quarter – a much lower figure than amongst the workforce as a whole (27%).

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