Computer science students at Ron Dearing UTC are working alongside the school’s IT experts to learn up-to-the-minute practical skills and gain industry standard experience.
Jupiter IT Solutions manages the school’s IT infrastructure and provides a managed IT service with an engineer based on site.
Students are being given the chance to shadow the engineer and help provide technical support to the UTC on a rota basis.
They are learning how to solve software and hardware issues, how to strip laptops and are carrying out laptop, keyboard and screen repairs, as well as learning more about how computer networks operate and the role computer servers play in a working environment.
Dan Gladstone, Managing Partner at Hessle-based Jupiter IT Solutions, said: “Shadowing our engineers gives the students chance to gain real life, hands-on IT experience outside the classroom.
“They can watch how repairs are done and benefit from crucial IT engineering and technical knowledge. IT moves so quickly and we’re at the coalface of ever-changing technology, so we’re in a strong position to offers students practical experience which they can apply in the real world.
“They could walk into a managed service provider business or somewhere with a large scale IT department in the future and hit the ground running straight away because they’ve been exposed to real life IT scenarios you simply can’t replicate in a classroom.
“It’s not just about how technically gifted you are when it comes to IT – it’s also about your attitude and the client. We can teach students how to consider the end user and assess what’s in their best interests.”
Dan said equipping students with these vital skills will help towards plugging shortages within the industry, enabling other IT businesses to benefit.
He said: “By supporting Ron Dearing students in this way, we’re helping other companies to deliver a more efficient IT service because they will have the skills and knowledge required.
“There is a skills gap within the industry and it’s increasingly difficult to recruit to IT engineering roles, so this will hopefully support that.”
Jupiter IT Solutions, which employs 14 people, held workshops for Ron Dearing UTC students to learn more about the importance of cyber security, making them aware of the dangers which can critically affect businesses.
The team also reviewed modules studied by the students to ensure this element of the curriculum is as relevant as possible to the rapidly changing tech industry.
Year 10 student Giacomo Davis, 15, is studying computer science, which focuses on computer systems architecture and coding, and plans to pursue the subject at A-level.
He said: “It’s really good that we can shadow the engineers because hands-on learning is much better than purely learning in the classroom. Computers are the future and these are important skills to have.”
Fellow Year 10 student Annabel Gregg, 15, said: “I’d like to go into software development in the future and I want to learn as much as possible. Gaining these skills now will help us stand out from the crowd and shows we’re willing to learn.”
Hugh Boughton, Operations Manager at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It’s fantastic for our students to have hands-on technical experience and brings learning to life as they tackle real life IT problems or queries.
“It’s experience like this which will give students the edge as they think about their next steps after leaving school and has sparked a real interest among those who have been involved so far.”