B-Skill provides first Trailblazers software development apprentice

Government pilot project offers bespoke apprentices for fast-changing industries

Training specialist B-Skill has recruited its first apprentice under the groundbreaking Trailblazer scheme, providing the first software development apprentice in the North East and possibly the UK under the new standards.

B-Skill provided innovative Gateshead technology company Waymark IT with Ollie Warriner, who is being trained as a software development apprentice under the new arrangements. The company provides software development and computer systems consultancy services to small and medium-sized businesses.

This is the first time Waymark IT has recruited an apprentice through B-Skill and the bespoke nature of Trailblazers means the company is able to tailor the apprenticeship to its requirements, something that is vital in a fast-moving industry like software development.

Waymark IT director, Paul Lofthouse, says: “When we looked at other apprenticeship opportunities, they were taking candidates away from the office a lot and many did not fit the software development remit. But when we started looking at the Trailblazers agenda and programme, they had pulled together pretty much everything we had on our list.

“There is a skills gap and shortage of software developers and this is a great way to solve the issue and train people up on the job. Ollie is a really bright guy and will go a long way. We’re hoping he’ll stay with us a long time.”

Trainer Jason Jones is himself a software developer. The work he carries out with Ollie is designed to meet the constantly changing needs of the industry and stay abreast of developments.

He said: “Trailblazers are a different sort of apprenticeship. Normally, there would be set levels to hit, but this is very open because software development is fast growing and continually evolving. It’s hard to put something on paper because it will be out of date in three months.

“Even at university level, you learn code which is very old and as soon as graduates leave, they are already looking at another one to two years to get up to speed with the latest technology and how businesses work.

“Trailblazers is the way forward. In terms of software development and any business changing at a massively fast rate, it’s perfect.”

For more information on B-Skill apprenticeships phone 0333 900 0690 or email apprenticeships@b-skill.com