From education to employment

Computing & Digital Technology Alumni Talks

We recently caught up with two of our Computing and Digital Technology Neath College Alumni to find out how the qualifications they achieved at NPTC Group of Colleges opened career path possibilities for them.

Jonathan Thomas returned to education at NPTC Group of Colleges in 2014 at the age of 24. He left school at 16 with three GCSEs and entered the world of work.

Jonathan had many different jobs before returning to education with the main one being a classroom assistant at a secondary school. He found it hard to progress within jobs because he didn’t have the qualifications to do so. He went to see the careers adviser in the school he was working in to see what his options were. They asked if he had heard of a Higher National Certificate (HNC); a Level 4 vocational qualification. He searched for Information and Digital Technology HNC courses and NPTC Group of Colleges was the first option that came up. He phoned and spoke to one of the lecturers who invited him in for an interview. He was then enrolled on a HNC course which started three months later.

Jonathan studied his HNC in Computing and Systems Development part-time at Neath College for two years, doing evening classes twice a week. After completing this he moved on to a Level 5 Higher National Diploma (HND) in Computing and Systems Development. He studied his HND full time over two years. Jonathan completed his four years of studies at Neath College by studying a BSc Computing & Information Systems top-up degree.

Jonathan enjoyed his time at the College saying:

“Working in education to then becoming a pupil again is a big transition but personally attending the evening classes helped me as I was with like-minded people, and everyone was on the same page. There was a lot more support there and the lecturers were understanding of your situation.

“I loved coming to college it was so enjoyable. When I started, I was a bit reluctant as I was five or six years older than most of the students on the course. But within weeks we had formed a good friendship as a group, and we all worked well together”.

Since leaving college, Jonathan has completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and is now an Information and Computing Technology teacher in a secondary school in Swansea. Jonathan’s plan was always to go into teaching after completing his studies. Having worked in education before as a classroom assistant, he knew it was the right option for him.

The College prepared him for all possibilities, and he felt fully equipped for his new role in a school. However, he does admit that he had some enticing offers after completing his studies, attending interviews with big companies and several job offers in local software houses.

“I went for an interview at a local software development company in Swansea, and they were complimentary of not only me but also what I had learnt on the course. They were able to recognise that the skills I had acquired were exactly what they wanted in the workplace”.

Jonathan feels that his studies at Neath College gave him a rounded experience and that he could have progressed on to any job within the Computing and Digital Technologies industry.

“You get the technical and academic knowledge from being at the College but for me, wanting to be a teacher, I also picked up a lot about how to teach as well. Some of the resources I still use today and the things I create have a direct link to what I was taught in the classroom. I couldn’t have asked for anymore, it was genuinely a brilliant experience. The lecturers were great, they are knowledgeable and experienced having worked in the industry themselves and bring a real depth of knowledge and experience to what they are teaching and that brings the subject to life”.

After seeing how much Jonathan enjoyed his time here, his brother has since followed the same path as him, coming back to education at NPTC Group of Colleges and completing the same courses. He is now a self-employed Website Designer. The group of students Jonathan was at college with now work in the Technology and Computing industries, in jobs such as Digital Forensics, Web Development, Network Engineering, and Web Design.

Jonathan has some advice for anyone thinking of studying at NPTC Group of Colleges:

“My advice to anyone considering courses like I did is to pick something you enjoy. If you enjoy the content, you are going to put in more work and be proud of what you achieve. The more pride you take in what you do, the better the results will be. For those who are considering returning to education, I can’t speak highly enough of my experience, and I owe a big debt to the College because they took a chance on me and gave me every tool I needed to make me successful. If it wasn’t for the people at NPTC Group of Colleges, I wouldn’t be doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing.

“Computing & Digital Technology and the Technology sector as a whole are booming, the opportunities are endless. If you are looking for a course that will help you learn, grow and experience the world then look no further than a Computing and Digital Technology course at NPTC Group of Colleges”.

Michael O’Callaghan who studied a HND and a Degree in Computing also joined the College as an adult learner. Michael works in a data development and analysis role for a company that specialises in passive fire security for high rise buildings. If you would like to find out more about Michael and his experiences at NPTC Group of Colleges, please watch the video below.

To find out more about our Computing & Digital Technology courses click on the link below.

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