‘A degree is not the only route to a career in IT’

Northgate MD Ed Brown and CEO Andy Ross in discussion with HRH The Duke of York   INNT 37-408-RM
Northgate MD Ed Brown and CEO Andy Ross in discussion with HRH The Duke of York INNT 37-408-RM

THE Chief Executive of Northgate Managed Services has stressed the company’s commitment to enhancing the educational outcomes and employability of young people.

Speaking after meeting with HRH The Duke of York last Thursday to discuss the firm’s apprenticeship programme, Andy Ross said: “He (Prince Andrew) was interested in why we’d decided to take on apprentices, how we’d gone about it, whether we felt it had worked and he was keen to speak to people who’d been through the apprenticeship programme or are in the apprenticeship programme and keen to understand whether what we’d done would be beneficial to other companies.”

He added: “We value our apprentices highly and believe they play an integral role in the business, accounting for over five per cent of our entire team and enabling us to develop a sustainable and valuable workforce for the future.

“Northgate plays a lead role in the delivery of ICT services to the education sector but we also strive to encourage young people to consider IT as a career option. Graduate schemes are important but we don’t regard a university degree as the only route. For many young people apprenticeships offer an alternative in-road to what can be a highly rewarding career. We would also urge parents to set aside any preconceptions and consider the benefits offered through vocational training and apprenticeship schemes in particular.”

Mayor Victor Robinson, who welcomed the Duke of York to Newtownabbey, added: “The Prince was very impressed, not only with the apprenticeship scheme, but with the whole setup at Northgate.

“I had a good chat to the management of Northgate, one of the borough’s premier companies, and was most impressed with the expertise and with their apprenticeship project.

“Apprenticeships are something I really believe in, as they give young people an opportunity of gaining the right training and skills to succeed, without requiring top academic qualifications.”

Structured on an ‘earn as you learn’ basis, Northgate’s scheme combines on-the-job training with college-based study. Upon completion, apprentices gain NVQ IT Practitioner qualifications and are equipped with the skills and experience which make them highly employable within Northgate and the wider IT sector.

The Church Road company, which has offered training to around 100 apprentices over the past three-and-a-half years, now employs around 600 people.

For more information about Northgate’s apprenticeship scheme log on to www.northgatemanagedservices.com