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Swatpro Academy Expands with New Digital Apprenticeship Training Offer


It’s a digital world we live in. So, it’s not surprising the next logical step in the development of Swatpro Academy – a South-West specialist training provider– is to tap the demand for IT apprenticeships.

Swatpro Academy has garnered a big reputation for its work in the catering and hospitality industry. Having trainers with masses of experience has been key.

To run the new digital academy, they’ve also turned to two experts: Mike Collings and Dave Massey.

Mike has had more than 20 years’ experience within a diverse range of companies from 1st level support to Head of Dept and his technical know-how is second-to-none, while Dave as a qualified teacher has worked for more than 20 years in training, much of that in the kind of one-on-one tutoring that apprenticeships provide.

“You could say our skills dovetail very nicely. We are both at home with the demands of the course, but Dave’s more educational background and my more technical one gives us a good blend,” says Mike.

Swatpro Academy currently offers 3 IT apprentice standards in conjunction with the British Computer Society: The Level 3 Infrastructure Technician; Level 3 Technical Sales Person and Level 4 Network Engineer.

Demand has been high, with employers taking on new staff as apprentices and upskilling those already in post.

“We started on November 1 and we’ve been very busy talking to a big range of employers out there,” Mike enthuses.

“From one-man companies taking on an apprentice, to large companies. There has been a lot of interest. Employers are keen to take advantage of the funding out there for apprentices.”

As with most apprenticeships, the model is one of blended learning, with one-to-one tuition at the workplace being paramount, but with short, specific classroom courses and distance e-learning adding to a learner’s knowledge base.

The first 16 apprentices have set off on the 12-to-24-month journey to qualifications, and many more are primed to follow.

Mike continues: “On a personal level, it’s really exciting to begin a new project like this. Working with Swatpro Academy means we’re working with people who really know education and training. It’s a flat management structure where everyone gets on and helps each other – there’s a family feel to it.”

“Companies like the new skills their workers are getting – and the fact that they may only be picking up 5% of the cost of the apprenticeship – and for employees, it allows them to move up the career path,” Mike says.

It is possible to have worked in IT without formal training, but these days many prospective employers will want to see qualifications before they interview. Having completed an apprenticeship standard will demonstrate the apprentice has the knowledge and the skills required and also understands the behaviours needed to apply it practically in the workplace, it’s a win-win” he adds.

Swatpro Academy Expands with New Digital Apprenticeship Training Offer