From education to employment

Sector Skills Council Praise for ICT Graduate at Awards Ceremony

A Technical Operations Engineer working for mobile giant Orange outclassed more than 1,100 people to win the award of “Advanced Apprentice Of The Year 2006”, at an awards ceremony held on the 20th June 2006.

Hosted in the glittering surroundings of London’s prestigious Park Lane Hilton, John Vickery claimed the coveted top spot at this year’s National Learning and Skills Council (LSC) Apprenticeship awards and was promptly congratulated by E-skills UK, the Sector Skills Council for IT and Telecoms.

A Desire To Learn

Enthused by the award, Mr Vickery stated: “If you are someone with a desire to learn, an Apprenticeship offers you the perfect opportunity. You are given the chance to experience many different parts of the company and are able to apply new skills immediately to real life situations.”

In light of the recent controversy surrounding the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) report on competition and employer satisfaction, he pointed out his ambition and support rather pertinently: “Everyone around you helps you to build up your knowledge and the company support is wonderful. Ultimately I”d like to move into a management role where I can use my breadth of company knowledge as well as my technical skills.”

Commenting on the particular relevance of working Apprenticeships and the benefits they can offer to industry, the Chief Executive for e-skills UK, Karen Price, said: “It is very encouraging that an Apprentice from the ICT industry has won a national competition covering a broad range of sectors.”

Urging Business to Follow Example

She continued: “We urge more businesses to follow their example and take advantage of the public funding that exists, as well as the support that we can provide, to ensure that they are equipped with people who have the right skills relevant to modern business. Apprenticeships also offer a unique mechanism to enhance job satisfaction and company loyalty among recruits.”

Yet this widely lauded campaign does not come without evidence, as provided by Orange, one of the companies working in tandem with e-skills UK. “Orange is a technical innovator with a massive infrastructure to maintain. We look for very special qualities in our Apprentices, such as the ability to handle responsibility early on,” says Competence Assessment Manager at Orange, Dean Hingley.

“Apprenticeships have been a real recruitment success for Orange. Our retention rates are very high and it is really encouraging to find that people stay with us and continue to develop their skills and careers,” he concluded.

Vijay Pattni

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