Your news: Students learn about apprentice degrees in IT

From left: Dr Patrick Collins (Mecmesin), Alex Heroys (current Collyers student) and Paul Kooner-Evans (Chichester University) Photo by Lucy Hargreaves.

From left: Dr Patrick Collins (Mecmesin), Alex Heroys (current Collyers student) and Paul Kooner-Evans (Chichester University) Photo by Lucy Hargreaves.

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Last week Collyer’s hosted a breakfast networking meeting to introduce Chichester University’s BSc (Hons) Digital and Technology Solutions (Software Engineer) apprenticeship degree programme to a variety of local employers and second year ICT & Computing students.

Paul Kooner-Evans, Course Leader for the programme, spoke at length about the benefits for both employers and students. Other speakers included Simon Pringle, Director of Red River Software and Garry Marshall, from Lighthouse Systems.

The breakfast event proved popular and enabled experts to talk to students about careers in computing. Photo by Lucy Hargreaves.

The breakfast event proved popular and enabled experts to talk to students about careers in computing. Photo by Lucy Hargreaves.

The degree takes four years and the students don’t need to pay any university fees as they work full-time and receive a salary, whilst attending workshops at Chichester University one day per week. 

Melanie Kavanagh, Subject Leader Level 2 IT (BTEC) ran the event and was delighted with the outcome: “The meeting generated a lot of interest from our current would-be Apprentices, who are already being approached for interviews by the delegates’ companies. We are very excited by this partnership with Chichester University, and look forward to continuing to offer an alternative degree route for our talented students.

“We also got an inside view from two ex-Collyer’s students who are currently in their 1st year of the programme, having secured jobs with Red River Software following last year’s event.”

Former Collyer’s students Adam Sandle and James Seden-Smith are currently studying for the degree apprenticeship with Chichester, working at Red River Software in Horsham. 

Gary Templar (Envision Technology Solutions) with Paul Kooner-Evans (Chichester University). Photo by Lucy Hargreaves

Gary Templar (Envision Technology Solutions) with Paul Kooner-Evans (Chichester University). Photo by Lucy Hargreaves

Adam Sandle said: “What we study at University really supports what we work on when we go back into the business, we earn and learn at the same time. Working at Red River and studying on day release at Chichester University means we have a three way partnership that works so well.” 

James Seden-Smith added: “Right from the start we worked on real projects which have an impact on the business. At the moment we’re developing Apps and websites – it’s exciting stuff!”

Simon Pringle Founding Director, Red River Software, said: “Part of the initiatives my company have been involved with has led me to work with Diane and Melanie at Collyer’s. Through this involvement I have been introduced to and talked with many of the college’s computer science. Two of these students have recently joined us at Red River. To our absolute delight, rather than needing a major amount of training, they have hit the ground running. Picking up new technologies and new programming languages without fear has led them to work on our flagship projects and to add to the prosperity and success of our company. 

Their obvious enjoyment, thirst for knowledge and comfort with new ideas and situations are a tribute to them and to the way I believe Collyer’s has developed these students.” 

Adam Sandle (left) and James Seden-Smith. Photo by Lucy Hargreaves

Adam Sandle (left) and James Seden-Smith. Photo by Lucy Hargreaves

Di Dowling, Subject Leader for Computing and Head of Whittington House, said: “We are delighted to be working with Chichester University and a range of local employers to offer a real progression route for our students”.

Senior Tutor Ian McAlister from the college’s Progression Directorate said: “This is one of many progression events planned to run over the course of this academic year, which include NG2U (Not Going to University) and a mock assessment for students with Nestle.

I’m really pleased that this breakfast event has been a success. Massive thanks to Melanie Kavanagh and Di Dowling for co-ordinating this.”

Collyer’s Assistant Principal, Melanie Russell was delighted: “Huge thanks to the experts from Chichester University and the industry for taking time out from their busy schedules to talk to our students. The feedback has been outstanding as our learners clearly found the

networking session useful and informative as they plan their progression route after Collyer’s!”

Current Collyer’s student Alex Heroys said: “This event has inspired me to work hard to achieve the required grades for the amazing opportunities on offer!”

Contributed by the College of Richard Collyer

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