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New IT training academy for the long term unemployed

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by UKDarkstar, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    August 2010

    A new IT Training Academy, set up by Whitebox Digital, aims to provide those in long-term unemployment with the necessary IT skills to (re)join the workforce. Jutta Mackwell spoke to founder David Barker and his colleague Debra Carter about the new approach to training and tackling unemployment.

    On first sight Whitebox Digital, a full service digital agency, might look like any other IT service company. Yet its vision goes way beyond providing next generation IT solutions to third sector organisations. In February this year, it launched its apprenticeship programme for NEETs - those not in education, employment and training.

    Its aim is to provide those who are struggling to (re)enter the job market because of long-term unemployment, criminal records, homelessness or dropping out of school with invaluable professional and IT skills.

    Whitebox Digital, an enterprise that came second in this year’s South East Job Centre Plus ‘Employer of the Year Award’, is made up of two parts - its IT business and its accredited Microsoft Advanced IT Training Academy, meaning it can provide in-house all the training, exams and certification to help its trainees join the workforce.

    Read the full story HERE
     
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  2. simonp83

    simonp83 Kilobyte Poster

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    It does seem to be a very good idea, that's me skimming over it. A training provider that gets people to do volunteer work, even if it's not IT related, seems like a good idea.
     
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  3. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    I just hope that they don't turn into one of those companies that will train an unexperience person up to the MCSE/MCITP: SA/EA by giving them "experience" in a lab...

    -ken
     
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    WIP: PGDip
  4. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Not sure if this is just aimed at giving people the ability to open a Word document, add two cells together in Excel and browse Internet sites other than Bebo and Facebook - or whether it's aimed at training the long-term unemployed up to work in the IT industry.

    If it's the former, then I would argue it's the government's job to be doing that and - indeed - is one of the things I pay taxes and National Insurance for. Since the government has apparently decided it doesn't need to spend money on this, can I claim some of my taxes back? Oh that's right - of course not - they'll end up in the pockets of a private company instead.

    If it's the latter, then that's just what this industry needs - more unskilled, unmotivated layabouts in their early twenties giving the impression that anyone can work in IT despite having no skills, experience or qualifications.

    Sorry - but I don't see how this is at all beneifical to the IT industry. It would be far better if the government actually did what it was supposed to with my taxes and trained these people properly - I see this as just another extension of the CDL scam.
     
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  5. UKDarkstar
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    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    I think if you read the article you'll see it does seem quite good. E.g. :

    "Training for the Whitebox’s current 129 apprentices is delivered via a combination of remote e-learning (about three to four days a week) and workplace learning (usually one day a week), and trainees receive regular phone, webinar and one-to-one support"

    "Microsoft e-learning material and elements such as Element K’s virtual environments allow the trainees to, for example, take apart computers, interact and chat with each other and other Whitebox staff. The fact that they only need a laptop or a PC and broadband access to work with cutting-edge technology is for many of them a new experience."

    "Usually we have a one-hour interview with the potential candidates, to get to know them and their attitude. If they are up for learning and enthusiastic, we will take them on. It’s great to have the mix of people from different backgrounds and age groups.’

    This means that for some of the trainees, the programme starts with basic literacy and numeracy or English language courses. Also, the training is not only about IT skills, but equally about professional skills and learning how to be part of a workforce.

    ‘Initially we have to manage the trainees, but after two months or so, when we’ve had time to assess their strengths, we, for example, select a coordinator, a project manager or an implementer and they then have to support a group of trainees"

    "Trainees start out with the Digital Literacy Certificate, followed by an exam to become a Microsoft Certified Application Specialist. The next stage is taking the CompTIA Strata Certificate exam, allowing them to choose between the business and the IT technician route."

    "The business route means that trainees will become certified experts in Microsoft Office and also receive training in project management, client services and sales. The IT technician route, in contrast, continues with CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ and finishes with an exam to become a Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician."
     
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  6. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    That actually sounds like a very good opportunity :thumbleft

    The only thing that I can poke at is that fact that the Microsoft Certified Application Specialist doesn't actually exist anymore (hasn't for the last 2 months, for those that passed the MCAS check your transcript - it's already been replaced).

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
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  7. Shaneo85

    Shaneo85 New Member

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    I cant work out where it's based? or is it nationwide?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2010
  8. UKDarkstar
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    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    "Training for the Whitebox’s current 129 apprentices is delivered via a combination of remote e-learning (about three to four days a week) and workplace learning (usually one day a week), and trainees receive regular phone, webinar and one-to-one support - quite an achievement considering the core staff at Whitebox numbers only 13. The reasons for this focus on e-learning are manifold.

    Whitebox founder David Barker explains: ‘Having to study and learn through remote e-learning passes the responsibility to get the work done on to the trainees. It also says “we trust you, you can do it”. Also, some of our trainees may have rebelled against the authoritative approach. E-learning allows them to move at their own pace.’

    E-learning also enables accessibility - in terms of disabilities, and also in terms of geographical location. ‘It ensures that people who are disabled and would have problems accessing some of the workspaces are not excluded from the programme’, says Debra Carter, whose role spans HR and community relations.

    Additionally, remote e-learning and the ability to take the exams in-house allow Whitebox to start training schemes all over the UK. ‘We choose the locations based on need,’ says David. ‘At the moment we’ve got trainees in Newcastle, Worcester, London, Guildford and Eastbourne. In Eastbourne we’ve got our own office space and trainees come in about three days a week and work alongside the team. We see them as employees who are doing intensive training.’"


    Company website
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  9. UKDarkstar
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    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    Yep :biggrin

    Yeah, the article is reproduced in the BCS IT Training specialist group mag so I suspect it was done some time ago. Their website aso states a new one is in development.

    It's good to see an initiative like this tho'
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  10. billyr

    billyr Kilobyte Poster

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    Maybe i'm missing something here but all is see on reading the article and looking at the the company website is:

    I.T training company follows age old method of flogging Microsoft E-Learning courses at inflated price to government organizations under the guise of getting long term unemployed back to work.

    Or is my cynicism getting the better of me?
     
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  11. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Exactly what I thought.
     
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  12. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    I didn't that feel when I read the article. They do seem like they have put a lot more thought and effort into it than just 'plonk these guys on some e-learning courses'. I'm very much a cynic about most things, but this seems pretty genuine to me.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
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  13. Shaneo85

    Shaneo85 New Member

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    Has anyone actually signed up with Whitebox Digital? I've just phoned them but I think their closed as it's bank holiday.

    Does anyone have any more info on the apprenticship program? There website doesn't offer any details on start dates etc.
     

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