Client Services Director at Highlander, Ryan Connolly, delves into the expert IT company’s work with Sheffield College as part of their Employer Skills Academy, helping young students prepare for the working world.

Social responsibility has always been a cornerstone of our business, and we’re big believers in ‘giving back’, especially when it means supporting our local community.

Last year, we were approached by Sheffield College to join over 20 local businesses as part of their Employer Skills Academy. We sponsored a higher education computing course for students between 18 and 21 years old and, with our first academic year concluding, we were delighted to be asked to return to the programme with an additional T-Level (previously BTEC) cohort, helping students aged 16 to 18 as well.

How do we support?
Once a month, members of our team join students to provide real-life expertise through a mix of theoretical explanations and practical demonstrations.

We also endeavour to present students with a broad set of insights and are fortunate to be able to call upon members of both our team and the wider FluidOne family to provide in-depth industry knowledge.

In 2024, our involvement will go beyond the classroom as we’ll be offering one student the opportunity to join our team for work experience, getting them on-site and actively involved in day-to-day activities.

Ryan Conolly
Ryan Connolly

What are the benefits for students?
Most of us will remember from our own experiences, it isn’t always easy to know where you want your career to go. This is especially true when your studies may not represent the working world.

Through their Employer Skills Academies, Sheffield College hopes to better inform and prepare students for what to expect in their chosen careers, while showcasing the different opportunities available to them.

In our case, we hope students leave our courses with a clear understanding of what life in IT looks like and are enthused by the prospect of forging their own path in an exciting industry.

Why does it matter to us?
As previously mentioned, giving back to our local community is something that is always important to us, and we see this as a brilliant platform to share our knowledge with the next generation of IT professionals.

It’s also a good opportunity for us to grow our relationship with not only Sheffield College but the other local businesses who are academy sponsors.

But perhaps most importantly, it’s enjoyable and rewarding. Our monthly classes offer a welcome change of scene for those involved, and we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students.

Huge thanks to Sheffield College for inviting us to be part of this fantastic initiative, and to the students and staff for their enthusiasm. We look forward to supporting and championing the Employer Skills Academy for the foreseeable future.

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