Portsmouth South MP visits Dunstan Thomas

Dunstan Thomas hosted Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock and key representatives from The National IT Partnership (NiTP) and Portsmouth’s Highbury College

Online PR News – 21-May-2012 – Portsmouth, UK – The growing IT company Dunstan Thomas, which has been based in Portsmouth since its foundation in 1986, took on two apprentices in January 2012. NiTP has set itself a target of securing real IT jobs for 2012 young people nationwide in 2012. All training for local IT apprentices is delivered by NiTP at Highbury College.

Mike Hancock, MP, Portsmouth South, met with Dunstan Thomas’ founder and chief executive Chris Read and Melanie Rignall, academy manager of NiTP, to discuss the success and challenges of the Government’s Apprenticeship Scheme in helping young people into full-time work. Following a successful experience with its apprentices Dunstan Thomas expects to offer them both full-time positions when they complete their courses in the autumn.

Apprentices George Whiffing, 19, and Jacob Adams, 17, have so far worked inside Dunstan Thomas for over two months. Jacob plans to use the experience gained on the apprenticeship as a building block for completing a foundation degree in IT networking at the college before
going on to complete a full IT degree at the University of Portsmouth. George is finding the apprenticeship an ideal way of being paid to get vital ‘on the job’ experience while fine-tuning his IT qualifications now that he is building his web development skills.

Apprentice George Whiffing explained the experience he is gaining at Dunstan Thomas:
“I’ve been able to hone my web development skills here. I’m designing a website specifically for Dunstan Thomas customer and major investment management business for a high profile industry awards event that they are sponsoring. This is great experience which I can add straight to my CV.”

The apprentices are paid by Dunstan Thomas and the Government pays for the training at the college and also supports the employers’ costs. Dunstan Thomas, which employs 32 people today, has now decided that apprentices will definitely form part of the recruitment mix. The company hires between four and six new people per year.

NiTP is in its first year of operation working in partnership with Highbury College to offer young people IT apprenticeships. The next intake of IT apprentices will start the 12-month course in July. During the apprenticeship they will be studying for key IT qualifications including a Diploma in ICT Professional Competence, Certificate in ICT Systems and Principles, CompTia A+ 701 and 702, Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Security Fundamentals and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Networking Fundamentals. They will be employed by local employers and a minimum of 14 weeks training will be delivered by NiTP at Highbury College.

Mike Hancock commented on the visit:
“Talking to these apprentices and with local IT employer Dunstan Thomas it is clear that we need to get rid of the perception that apprenticeships are only for those that cannot get into university. They are a great way for young people to get vital practical qualifications and on the job experience at the same time. They create full-time job opportunities with the employer they work with and can also use the scheme as a stepping stone to further study if they prefer. It’s time for people to stop looking down on apprenticeships – they are proving a vital method of getting our young people into work – something that has become a big problem in this recession.”

NiTP is holding an open evening for would-be IT apprentices at Highbury College starting at 4PM on 9 May and is hoping to attract more than 100 new apprentices over the next year. There are 24 places available for IT apprentices in July. The college is also looking for more local employers to sign up to take apprentices. You can make contact with Melanie Rignall at NiTP on Tel: 02392 328860, Mobile: 07979856438 or by email melanie.rignall@highbury.ac.uk or by going to NiTP’s website at www.nitp.co.uk.

Chris Read, chief executive, Dunstan Thomas, summarised:
“Linking with the local Highbury College and NiTP is a win-win for Dunstan Thomas and the nation as a whole. It enables us to do our bit in terms of giving some young people hands on experience and training so they can secure IT qualifications which will make them more employable for us or other local employers. In addition we gain the benefit of their energy, resourcefulness and new ideas.”