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, 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!”


Michael’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 Leaning 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 hiring an apprentice.


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 business 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!

Ayodele Fashola @ Wazoku

Ayodele Fashola @ Wazoku

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 5 years, and our 150th  apprentice recently completed their Tech LDN 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! 

One of the awesome apprentices we’re celebrating is Ayo Fashola who is a QA Tester at Wazoku, a software company based in central London.

Ayo recently completed her Web & Software Development apprenticeship with Tech LDN (formerly Tech City Stars), so we popped into the Wazoku offices, a stone’s throw away from London Bridge, to catch up with Ayo and her team to talk about her time at Wazoku and being an apprentice.


We started at the beginning as Ayo talked about her decision to take up an apprenticeship and the choices she had beforehand.

“When I started looking for an apprenticeship I knew I had no experience in IT whatsoever. I didn’t want to go to university and have no clue what I’m doing, so I chose an apprenticeship because it gave me the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time.

I had considered university, but I thought it might be a bit overwhelming to me and I’m a practical learner, so if I gave myself the opportunity to be in an environment where I had no choice but to learn, I would learn more.”


Having made the decision to do an apprenticeship, it was now all about getting hired!

Miguel Palomino is the Product Manager and Rosemarie Diegnan is the Chief Strategy and Product Officer at Wazoku; both of whom work directly with Ayo within her role at the company.


Rosemarie has hired a few apprentices from LDN Apprenticeships and Ayo was someone who stood out straight away when she was interviewed.


“She just seemed really excited about being part of the QA team and seemed to be something she really wanted to do. So I liked her enthusiasm and her experience, so we hired her!

The best thing about hiring an apprentice is they’re enthusiastic because they’re at the start of their careers. They want to learn and they want to jump in. They want to have new opportunities and we are a small business and more than happy to have smart and ambitious individuals come in a get started.”


Miguel is Ayo’s line manager and works with her on a daily basis and mentioned how hiring apprentices is helping with the growth of Wazoku.


“We have the experiences of other apprentices before Ayo and we have had very successful experiences with other apprentices from LDN Apprentices.  

The company is growing, so we continued searching for QA’s through Tech LDN. They are always happy to learn and we are happy to have them within the business.”

Ready to jump in and get started, first Ayo had to get up to scratch and learn the ropes. Despite little knowledge within IT as well as being unfamiliar within an office environment, Ayo always had the support of her work colleagues.


“I had a lot of support, so it wasn’t like I was lost I didn’t know what to do.

Since day one I had my manager supporting me, I had other people on the team supporting me. So it wasn’t too difficult in that respect.”

The best thing I’ve learnt at Wazoku is working with others. I’ve always been an independent learner but working here has made me improve not only working independently but within a team as well.”

This help and support from her team reaped benefits and Ayo went on to explain her biggest achievement during her apprenticeship at Wazoku.


“I started working with SSO when I started and I was a bit lost. But since then, I managed to put together a document that is now used throughout the company and is also part of the onboarding process for any new starter who joins the company!”


It’s not just Ayo that has seen herself improve during her apprenticeship.


Rosemarie has seen her come on leaps and bounds, not only on a personal level, but her skills to do the role as well.


“She’s become much more confident. She has learnt our product as well as the ability to test our product and find bugs.

She can stand up for hers elf if somebody says there isn’t a bug, which developers can sometimes do. She is willing to say ‘no, I can show you why this is a bug’. 

For most apprentices, this is their first real full-time job. So getting used to coming into work every day and being part of the team, I can see their confidence grow the more comfortable they are within the role.”


So after finishing her apprenticeship and now working at Wazoku full-time, what advice would Ayo give to anyone who’s thinking of starting an apprenticeship?


“I’d say go for it! There’s no reason why you shouldn’t. You earn the money, you learn on the job and whilst it can be overwhelming at times, the overall end goals are completely worth it!”


Miguel was just as enthusiastic and passionate when talking about businesses taking on apprentices.


“Hiring an apprentice is a great opportunity for not only businesses but for young people as well. An apprentice will always bring a new point of view and it’s good to have a different sense of how other people work.”


Rosemarie agreed and having hired and worked with apprentices before, was in a unique position to provide insight into why hiring an apprentice is so beneficial to Wazoku and how other businesses can harness new talent through apprenticeships.



“It’s an amazing opportunity for young people who want to get started and university isn’t necessarily the track they want to take. So hiring apprentices has given us a pool of really smart, interesting and exciting people.”

“In hiring an apprentice, it’s a great way to get new, young talent that’s looking to get started that’s intelligent and as capable as anyone coming out of uni.

They’ve just chosen a different path, so don’t be afraid of that.”

Ayo and her awesome team at Wazoku 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 Ayo, and thank you to Miguel and Rosemarie for all of the support they’ve given to Ayo.  

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!

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!