05 November 2010
IT students Balal Ali and Nadeem Chattha have made West Thames College history after becoming the first students to be employed at the college under the National Higher Apprenticeships scheme.
Based in the college's Information Services department at Spring Grove House, the talented techies now work as PC Support Staff whilst continuing their studies at West Thames College on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Darren Tysoe, (pictured below, centre) former Head of IS at West Thames College and Ashok Joshi, Curriculum Team Manager for ICT, played key roles in getting the students placed at the Isleworth campus.
“Darren needed more staff in the IS team but had limited funding,” said Ashok. “We decided to try something different and looked into the idea of using apprentices. As we offer IT for e-Business as a Level 5 course at the college*, using our own students on as higher apprentices was the natural choice. Balal and Nadeem are a great addition and deserve this opportunity. The experience they will gain whilst working here will be of real benefit for their future careers and we’re delighted that the college will be benefiting from their talents too.”
For classmates Balal (below, left) and Nadeem (below, right), close friends since they met at the college in 2007, being part of the West Thames College team is a dream come true. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity and I’m proud and excited to be a member of staff here,” said Balal. “The IS team are a professional and friendly group and have made us both feel very welcome.”
As well as answering calls and resolving issues on the IS Helpdesk, Balal and Nadeem have helped kit-out two IT classrooms from scratch, replacing 39 computers with industry standard machines and networking them correctly. “Not only are we gaining real-life industry experience, we are also practicing the skills taught to us by the college in what we consider our home from home,” said Nadeem.
The Higher Apprenticeship scheme will run for the duration of Balal and Nadeem’s IT for e-Business foundation degree. It is being run at West Thames College with the support of Richmond College who will carry out the assessment.
*Accredited by Kingston University.
Making Waves Spring 2013 - Our termly student magazine.