Darius Mannering @ Kano

Darius Mannering @ Kano

It’s a really important time for us here at LDN Apprentices. We’ve been delivering our Tech LDN (Formerly Tech City Stars) apprenticeship programme for almost five years, and our 150th apprentice recently completed their Tech LDN (formerly Tech City Stars) apprenticeship. The fact is that so many apprentices completed at a similar time that we thought it only fair to celebrate all of them together!

The first awesome Tech LDN apprentice we’re celebrating is Darius Mannering, who is a support agent at Kano Computing. Darius recently completed his IT support and networking apprenticeship with Tech LDN.

We popped into the Kano offices in Moorgate and caught up with Darius to talk about his time Tech City Stars and Kano.

Darius started off by telling us how he took the plunge and started his apprenticeship with the London Group.

“I personally didn’t want to go straight into studying something I wasn’t sure about and I came into Tech City Stars looking for something different.

I had an interest in computing and IT so I thought let’s go for it!

 

It was more about me getting my feet on the ball and seeing if I feel more comfortable working in industry and it worked out really nicely for me. I love it here!

 

I was considering university, but the apprenticeship guided me in the right direction.

It put me in the mindset of this is something I want to do and something I enjoy doing.

It’s been a quick year but it has taught me so much!” 

Darius’s enthusiasm at interview and his desire to kickstart his career through an apprenticeship was what inspired the team at Kano to hire him.

Bruce Beardall is the customer care team leader and Mathew Keegan is the head of customer care at Kano.

Both cited Darius’ attitude as a big inspiration in recruiting him as an apprentice for their tight-knit team.

Mathew recalls making the decision to hire Darius.

 

“There were a lot of factors. We’d hired apprentices in the past, which meant we knew the value we could get from working with young people.

 

What really inspired me about Darius was he had a very can-do attitude and was really motivated.

 

I always try and look for people that have high levels of motivation to join our team because I know they’ll put in as much as they’re willing to get out.”

 

The feeling was mutual with Bruce, the team leader for the customer care team at Kano.

 

“We have a policy within the customer care team of looking to encourage new talent and as a part of that, Darius was hired. It’s worked out exceptionally well.

 

The progress Darius has made in a short space of time is a testament to his hard work and endeavour to learn. Not only has he developed his IT skills, but his soft skills have come on in leaps and bounds as well.”

It’s common for apprentices to start a role with very little working knowledge of the technical skills the role requires. It’s the willingness and desire to learn that makes all the difference. Darius is no exception.

 

“I had a general interest in IT, but I didn’t have any of the necessary qualifications.

 

I played games, built my own computers, learned thing through self-teaching on YouTube. I had an interest and that’s all it took for me to give an apprenticeship a shot!”

We asked Darius about the progression of not only his IT skills, but also his personal skills since he started his apprenticeship.

“Because it’s my first office environment, I feel like I’ve connected with a lot of different teams I wasn’t aware of previously and I’ve learned how to fit in to a company like Kano.

 

I worked in retail before and that was a customer service environment, but when you’re in an office it’s a whole different thing.

 

You feel valued, which made me apply my prior customer service knowledge into a workplace and into something I enjoy. It’s a great combination for me.”

 

And he’s put that combination to great use, working on one of his favourite bits of kit, the Raspberry PI.

 

“Everything to do with this tiny single board computer called the Raspberry PI. It was completely new to me when I first started here so I was a bit confused about it!

 

I wasn’t sure how to approach it but I’ve learnt so much.

 

There are so many capabilities of this tiny computer and that’s what Kano teach to children and anyone else interested in technology. That’s what I love about Kano.”

Darius’s development has not gone unnoticed by Mathew either, who since recruiting him, has seen him progress a huge amount in such a short space of time.

 

“Darius was very shy when he joined but I’ve definitely seen over the last 12 months he’s become a very bright and bubbly member of our team.

 

The other change I’ve seen is the level of confidence – he didn’t have this when he first joined. He was a bit unsure about this very different career path he was taking and he’s really settled into that now, which is fantastic to see.”

 

Working with Darius closely on a daily basis, Bruce has also noticed the improvements in Darius since he started at Kano.

“Darius has gone from a very unsure school leaver to someone who is gaining certainty and self-assurance every day.

 

He’s gone from someone who wasn’t quite certain how to interact with people to being someone who has been trusted enough to be sent to our Boston office to train new starters there.

 

We’re very pleased he’s staying on with us beyond his apprenticeship!”

 

So after completing his apprenticeship at Tech LDN, what advice would Darius give to someone who’s thinking of starting an apprenticeship?

 

 

“Please do it!

 

Don’t have second thoughts because at the end of the day, it’s only one year and I’ve learnt so so much just being in this office for a year and I’m sure every other apprentice from Tech City Stars has done the same as well.”

Mathew has an equally positive message for businesses thinking of hiring an apprentice.

“The one thing I would say to anyone thinking of taking on an apprentice is do it. And my one piece of advice is not to take one, take two!

 

This is because when you give someone an instant friend, someone that can share the highs and lows of the apprenticeship and that they can work alongside, it gives them a level of confidence coming in and a level of self-assurance that perhaps can be more difficult with one person.

 

I’m one of the biggest advocates of the apprenticeship scheme and I say to anyone there’s no excuse for you not to be doing it!”

 

Darius and his awesome team at Kano are a brilliant example of how apprenticeships work for business and for young people. We’re thrilled to celebrate their success with this case study.

 

Congratulations Darius, and thank you to Bruce and Mathew for all of the support they’ve given to Darius.

If you’re thinking of HIRING an apprentice with us, click on the link below to discover more!

If you’re thinking of BECOMING an apprentice, click on the link below and find out how!

The Pros in Hiring School Leavers

The Pros in Hiring School Leavers

Many businesses that don’t traditionally employ school leavers have understandable concerns about working with 16 to 19 year-olds, but are they fair?  

I have worked alongside school leavers for most of my career. From student recruitment at the Telegraph and The Independent to my time at UCAS and finally in my current role at the LDN Apprenticeships, I feel I have built up a good understanding of the pros and cons.

At London Apprenticeships, we know that young people have the potential to help companies become better versions of themselves, to grow and to be more forward thinking. Quite often, however, our clients have concerns about hiring apprentices.

 

They Are A Blank Slate

School leavers may not have all the skills you want. But with the support of a good apprenticeship provider and a great manager, they will develop all the skills they need, tailored to the needs of the business.

You also have the flexibility to identify skills and aptitudes as your apprentice grows into their role and to adapt it accordingly. Graduates are not always equipped with the specific skills you need, and they have more rigid expectations about the job they expect to be doing.

For example, Computer Science graduates have the highest unemployment rates at 14% of any graduate despite the digital skills gap.  Why? They just don’t have the skills employers actually need.

They Have A Unique Perspective

Don’t be afraid of a young person’s different perspective, especially if your workforce is generally older. The perspective a young person offers can give fresh impetus to your business and allow you to reach a much wider audience.

They Question How Things Are Done 

They are eager to learn. If something is done in a way they are unsure of, they want to know why.  This might be initially frustrating, but they only ask because they are keen to learn and understand. Sometimes a little bit of naivety can be a good thing! Conversely how often do you question current processes? Perhaps there is a better way to do things? A school leaver could be the person to spark the process of improving.

They Approach Problems Differently 

With an innate understanding of modern technology, young people have a fountain of knowledge at their fingertips and the know-how to access it.  This can lead to solutions you would not normally have thought of.  It’s always good to have options.

Understand How Their Peers Communicate 

If you want to reach a youthful audience, young apprentices can be ideal for this. The way their peers communicate can give you a great insight into which channels and language to use. Just be aware that not all young people are the same!

Futureproof Your Business 

Quite simply, having flow continuous flow of new, young people into your business is the best way to futureproof it. Fresh ideas and new skills come with your apprentices. Apprentices represent a cost-effective means of bridging the digital skills gap. Because you’ve given them the opportunity, they’re loyal and totally invested in your business.

 

These are just some of the positives – of course, there are many more.

Keep an eye out for my next piece where I’ll be discussing some of the challenges that our clients face when hiring school leavers and how working with LDN Apprenticeships can help to overcome them.

Sandra Taraseviciute @ Caritas – Future LDN Apprentice of the Month

Sandra Taraseviciute @ Caritas – Future LDN Apprentice of the Month

I’m happy to announce that the winner of Future LDN Apprentice of the Month is Sandra Taraseviciute @ Caritas

LDN Apprenticeships highlights a clear message of what makes an AWESOME Apprentice; they must show energy, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, ability to take feedback and propensity to take action (EEWAP). Sandra’s nomination is below:

 

Energy: Sandra has this amazing, positive energy about her. She influences people around her with her positivity and willingness to help. She comes in the morning, gets stuck with her course work, and moves onto work without even anyone noticing. She is always the first one to help and do a bit of extra for consultants and candidates.

Enthusiasm: I have never seen Sandra not being enthusiastic at work place. She finds solutions to every problems she faces. I have heard her on the phone with some tricky candidates and only thanks to her enthusiasm and willingness to help she managed to obtain information, documents needed. This is a massive achievement and she should be so proud. She was a real star and dealt with stress and pressure like a PRO!

Willingness To Learn: Sandra has always been willing to learn more and more. She retains information really well. You only need to explain things once. She has also been doing her own research to check if she can find an answer herself, before asking. This is a very unique skill!

Ability To Take Feedback: Sandra takes feedback very well. I have not had issues with Sandra, so didn’t need to have any difficult chats. In terms of her work, any feedback is implemented straight away.

Propensity To Take Action: Sandra is extremely pro-active and is full of great ideas. She is now so experienced that I can assign a task, give her deadline and I am confident the deadline will be met and task will be completed to the highest standard.

Sandra has been an absolute pleasure working with! I wish everyone was so committed, honest and dedicated! She is a real asset and I can not wait to watch her grow in her new role!

I know she will absolutely smash it!

 

Congratulations, Sandra!

Shahed Miah @ Pracedo – Tech LDN Apprentice of the Month

Shahed Miah @ Pracedo – Tech LDN Apprentice of the Month

I’m happy to announce that the winner of Tech LDN Apprentice of the Month is Shahed Miah @ Pracedo

 

LDN Apprenticeships highlights a clear message of what makes an AWESOME Apprentice; they must show energy, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, ability to take feedback and propensity to take action (EEWAP). Shahed’s nomination is below:

 

Energy:

Shahed has been on some of our most complex and demanding projects which require the focus and drive to deliver excellence at all times. His constant energy and commitment to customer success has been excellent and a great example to those more senior than him as well.

 

Enthusiasm:

Shahed has a very positive outlook on all the things he does, he is also able to stay dedicated and show passion even on tasks that may not be exciting but are critical for the success of a project. His smile and positive attitude helps everyone in the office.

 

Willingness To Learn:

Shahed started with us having no knowledge of Salesforce and in the past year he has worked on Pracedo’s largest and most complex projects with amazing customer feedback. He is always willing to learn new things and is constantly looking for ways to improve his knowledge.

 

Ability To Take Feedback:

Everything we have given Shahed to do, or feedback, he has taken on immediately and in most cases improved on it even more independently.

 

Propensity To Take Action:

Shahed is a trusted right-hand go-to person for most people in the company, everyone knows that when Shahed accepts a task that it will be done on time, on budget and with great quality. He is proactive in raising items that need attention and ensures that any roadblocks are raised early on.

 

Congratulations Shahed

Toby Lagden @ Sphonic

Toby Lagden @ Sphonic

We have a number of awesome success stories here at LDN Apprenticeships and one of those is Toby Lagden at Sphonic, a tech company based a two-minute walk from Moorgate station in the heart of central London.

 

We popped in to see Toby and his line manager Michael Williams in their offices to talk about Toby’s great apprenticeship success story and how he’s getting on now after completing his apprenticeship and signing a full-time contract with Sphonic!

 

A total of 90% of our apprentices go onto further positive progression after they complete their apprenticeship with LDN Apprenticeships and Toby is part of that pool having now landed a full-time role. So why did he decide to apply for an apprenticeship?

“The reason I decided to do an apprenticeship in the first place was not only to get a qualification but also get some work and experience. I thought that would benefit me a lot more than it would just getting a qualification or vice versa.

 

I considered university but after weighing up the pros and cons, it felt like the pros didn’t heavily outweigh what I thought would be beneficial to me within my career.”

 

After Toby’s mind was made up, he attended our Career Kickstarter event which is where he met with the good people at Sphonic, including Michael, who explained how hiring an apprentice is part of the company’s growth plan.

 

 “We’re constantly expanding the business and we’ve grown significantly over the last six years.

 

It’s very difficult to recruit for what we’re after, so we felt we were better placed to hire an apprentice who could come in, understand our business in all areas and show us where they are strongest, so they can take on the position we’re after.”

 

Since starting at Sphonic, Toby has come on leaps and bounds not only within his digital skill set, but also his personal skills and especially his confidence, something Toby highlights as his biggest achievement since starting at Sphonic.

 

“I’d have to say my personal biggest achievement is the improvement in my confidence!

 

When I first started I had no self confidence and no real belief in what I did, so I was always second guessing. Now I’m at the point where I don’t have to second guess. I know what I’m doing is the right thing.”

 

Michael completely agreed when talking about Toby’s improvements since starting his apprenticeship.

 

“His confidence has grown significantly.

 

 

When he first joined he was quite shy and worried about speaking to anyone within the business. Now he’s very good. He’ll come and pester anyone he needs to if there’s some work he needs to complete!”

 

Toby’s reasoning behind starting an apprenticeship with LDN apprenticeships was so he could learn and gain experience in the workplace at the same time. So how has he transferred what he learnt out our Lansdowne Learning Centre into his role at Sphonic?

 

“Learning to balance the workload has been a beneficial learning curve. My work ethic has always been high but knowing how to take advantage of less busier periods within the work place is a huge part of what I’ve learnt. 

 

Don’t rush it, make sure it’s a good standard and if you haven’t got work, ask for some!”

 

Michael and the team at Sphonic have benefited massively from hiring Toby and has helped them save hours of time and money with the work they’ve given him and the tasks he has learnt.

 

Toby’s reasoning behind starting an apprenticeship with LDN apprenticeships was so he could learn and gain experience in the workplace at the same time. So how has he transferred what he learnt out our Lansdowne Learning Centre into his role at Sphonic?

 

“Learning to balance the workload has been a beneficial learning curve. My work ethic has always been high but knowing how to take advantage of less busier periods within the work place is a huge part of what I’ve learnt. 

  

Don’t rush it, make sure it’s a good standard and if you haven’t got work, ask for some!”

 

Michael and the team at Sphonic have benefited massively from hiring Toby and has helped them save hours of time and money with the work they’ve given him and the tasks he has learnt.

 

“Because we work with over 70 vendors within our business, that’s an awful lot of APIs and data. Understanding that data is key to our business and what we deliver to our clients.

 

What we did was provide Toby with the API documentation to strip the data out of it. From this his understanding grows and his subject matter knowledge grows as well.

 

With that he’s saved me a lot of time of having to extract the data myself and I could then focus more on the integrations with our clients.

 

That sort of skill set is expensive to hire directly. When you get someone who is as eager and willing to learn as Toby is it’s absolutely fantastic for the business.”

 

So after the success of his time as an apprentice, what would Toby say to anyone who’s thinking of doing an apprenticeship?

 

“I’d say go for it!

 

See what matches your skill set and your passion, then once you’ve found a career path, whether that’s IT or Web Development or one that fits for you, dedicate yourself to it and the reward is there for you at the end.”

 

Michael has had experience of hiring a few apprentices with LDN Apprenticeships now and has valuable knowledge and insight into what to expect when recruiting one.

 

The ability to harness new talent and tap into a pool of talent he wouldn’t be able to in other routes of recruitment have hugely benefited not only him as a manager, but the business as a whole.

 

“I’d definitely suggest to any business to hire an apprentice.

 

As long as you have the resources and ability to teach and train them like any new recruit. You know you’re going to get an endless amount of positivity back.

 

To begin with, they’re keen, eager and they’ll probably out do you in a lot of areas!

 

But with the ones we have hired, they always come back and give you ideas, which I think is fantastic!”

Toby and his awesome team at Sphonic are a brilliant example of how apprenticeships work for businesses and for young people. We’re thrilled to celebrate their success with this case study.

 

Congratulations Toby, and thank you to Michael for all of the support he has given to Toby.

If you’re thinking of HIRING an apprentice with us, click on the link below to discover more!

If you’re thinking of BECOMING an apprentice, click on the link below and find out how!