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!