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Apprentices on the road to success

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Sian Gabbidon might be the talk of the town following her triumph on the latest series of The Apprentice.

But the Leeds-based swimwear brand owner isn’t the only bright young thing going places in the city.

A group of four software development apprentices at automotive data business cap hpi are currently also winning plaudits for their work and ideas.

The four software development apprentices - Wesley Spellman(19) from Huddersfield, Zahid Rahman (19) from  Leeds, Alex Maughan (24) of Harrogate and Holly Anusic (21) from Bingley are more than halfway through their 15-month apprenticeship at the global business.

The apprenticeship scheme is the first one offered by cap hpi and is run in conjunction with Estio Training, one of the UK’s leading providers of IT apprenticeships.

The four apprentices started in March of this year and upon completion in May 2019 will earn a Level 3 City & Guilds qualification as software development technicians.

During their first six months in the business, the apprentices have been fully integrated, working closely with imaginatively titled development teams across the business including Danger Mice, The Code Monkeys, Snack Overflow, Trail Blazers and Bourbons.  

Tasks have included programming and coding, primarily looking at C#, .NET, T-SQL plus front-end HTML and Angular as well as app development and live end-user projects for clients such as the Maltese Government, which involved updating and adding new features to existing systems for hybrid car pricing in Malta.

As part of the scheme, the apprentices have six weeks of off-site, classroom-based training to complete, with examinations for each module.  In addition, the apprentices complete an online portfolio of work and also need to pass an interview/assessment gateway. At the end of all this, if successfully completing the Estio work alongside the work-based objectives set by Helen Wright, Senior Development Manager at cap hpi, they will be offered full-time Junior Developer roles.

Commented Helen: “Our apprentices have really hit the ground running and have smashed their targets within the first six months. They’ve flourished working in a live working environment and we’re really excited to see how they continue to progress. We already have great teams of talented developers working in the business who are the ideal mentors for the apprentices and to see them integrating so seamlessly is very rewarding. 

“We established our software development apprenticeship scheme to specifically overcome problems we faced in recruiting developers with the necessary skills to work in the dynamic automotive tech sector. In developing an apprentice scheme which provides on the job training with real live projects carried out by dedicated teams, we are able to put a great learning framework in places for the apprentices. Over halfway in, the apprentices are performing very well and have impressed everyone with their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. The apprentices have thrived under the scheme and coped with the pressure well.  The growth in confidence levels has been astounding and they’ve all adapted well individually and as a cohesive team. The next phase of the scheme should see them really honing the skills they’ve acquired so far and take it to the next level.”

Apprentice Alex Maughan said: “I have worked with two of cap hpi’s in-house development teams and I’m now approaching the end of my placement with the third. Over this time, I have gained much more of a feel for the day-to-day life of a software developer and it’s safe to say I’m really enjoying it working on challenging real-time projects which have given me more of a taste of what it is like and what it takes to be a software developer. It’s a fantastic skills learning experience and I’m really looking forward to seeing how my career progresses as a fully fledged junior developer in May 2019.”

Apprentice Holly Anusic added: “I was a personal trainer previously so this has been a radical departure for me but I’m loving every minute. We are all enjoying our experience here at cap hpi and now we have moved between a few teams we feel like we are all becoming more and more a part of the business. The development team rotation system has given us a really good insight into the different teams and products within the business in a relatively short period of time. Looking at the package as a whole, we all feel very lucky to be a part of the cap hpi apprenticeship scheme.”

Added Helen Wright: “Our apprentices have been great and have blown Lord Sugar’s latest set of hopefuls out of the water! On the strength of the success of the scheme so far we will be giving them all the encouragement they need until they are fully qualified. They can then be seamlessly integrated within an area of the business where their skills are strongest. As for future apprentices, we will continue with the programme, nurturing potential talent from the region and providing them with the necessary tools to forge a career in the fast-moving tech sector.”