|Adrian and Damion|
Two local IT apprentices got the chance to live and work in Italy recently, when their employer, Fazeley's Gen2 Systems, asked them to complete a month-long project with their supervisor at an aviation customer's site in Rome.
Adam Hancox (18, of Bedworth, Warwickshire) and Damion Wright (16, of Dordon, Warwickshire) are both taking their apprenticeships with the NITP Academy at South Staffordshire College in Tamworth.
Adam had previously finished his A levels and was working part-time in a shop, while Damion had started Sixth Form, but switched to an apprenticeship, wanting to start his IT career right away.
Just a month into their apprenticeships, Gen2 Systems asked them to go to Rome - as a developer of software for the aviation industry, the company's customers are worldwide.
While many employers worry that their apprentices might not be productive or ready for the workplace at first, Gen2 Systems were not concerned.
"From the start, Adam and Damion proved themselves to be mature, confident, keen and hard-working. They picked up tasks easily and always listened to advice and instructions," says Anne Ryan, Gen2 Systems.
"When this contract in Italy came to us, we had no hesitation in sending them. Having since had a de-brief on the contract, our instincts were proven right, as they did a fabulous job."
In Rome, the pair spent their days digitising the maintenance records of seven aircraft, but also made the most of their spare time, staying, all expenses paid, in the city centre and getting to see the sights, the Coliseum being their highlight.
Talking about why he chose an apprenticeship, Adam says: "The idea of being paid while learning and gaining experience and qualifications really appealed. So far, it's been great to work with people further afield than where I live. My time in Rome showed that there are so many opportunities out there for young people, as long as you're willing to go out and get them."
Damion adds: "I saw all the connections and opportunities that the apprenticeship with NITP opened up and knew it was the right choice. The freedom and independence of working life has been brilliant and I've really enjoyed being introduced to the aviation industry."
In partnership with the National Skills Academy for IT and BT, NITP is looking to create a further 350 new apprenticeship jobs for young people with small and medium sized employers during 2013 nationwide. Many of these will be in Tamworth and across the West Midlands.