Connor Young (19) from Alfreton, Joe Barker (18) from Mackworth and Alistair Lucas-Betterton (17) from Chaddesden were all members of the RDS Global Technology Academy which has won awards for its success in working with IT students at DCG’s Joseph Wright Centre post 16 Academic and Arts college.
The 17-week Academy programme includes talks and support from senior managers in the company and work placements at the head office in St James’ Court.
This has enabled students to get a taste of all the different career opportunities available to them from engineering to customer support. All the students are offered an interview at the end of their study programme for apprenticeship opportunities.
Connor and Joe both have their sights set on progressing up the engineering ladder at RDS Global whilst Alistair is already excelling in resolving customer’s IT issues.
RDS Global was established in 1997 and specialises in providing tailored network services, IT support, cloud, hardware and consultancy solutions for 4,000 users in 200 locations across the UK in a range of sectors including automotive retail, builders’ merchants, care homes, hotel and hospitality and professional services.
Director Andy Flinn said: “I am passionate that apprenticeships are good for both business and for the young person.
“It is an investment but the scheme enables us to embed our customer-focused culture and work ethos right from the start of an apprentice’s career.
“The employer academy programme with Derby College enables us to get to know the students before they apply for an apprenticeship.
“It is constantly evolving and the focus moving forwards is to align the programme with the new Digital Technical Level, known as T-Levels, which will then be introduced in September 2020. This will give students additional experience and skills that we and other industry employers require.”
Connor, a former pupil at St Mary’s School in Chesterfield, said: “Completing work experience and meeting all the team at RDS Global during the Academy programme has made starting work as an apprentice much easier.
“We already knew what interested us and how the company operated so have been able to hit the ground running.
“I always wanted an apprenticeship rather than going to university and this is a great opportunity to gain further qualifications and earn a wage at the same time.”
Joe added: “I have always loved computers and my goal is to become a fully qualified engineer to diagnose and resolve businesses’ IT issues so that they can operate efficiently and grow.”
Alistair continued: “I love working here because every day is different. It is really satisfying when we have sorted out a customer’s issue.”
DCG Deputy Principal April Hayhurst concluded: “RDS Global is a leading light in our employer academy programme and shows just what can be achieved by working together to better prepare young people for the world of work.
“By gaining work experience with different teams at RDS Global, students are able to see what the different job roles are really like – helping to bring their study programme to life and give them a clear line of sight to the workplace.
“Relationships such as this have ensured that DCG was chosen to be part of the first tranche of T-Level providers next September in Digital as well as Construction, Education and Childcare qualifications.
“The key focus for T-Levels will be work-based placements and the development of our Academies with key employers across the region have given us a head start in preparing for these innovative new qualifications.”