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Maxsi-mising his career prospects.

Byline: By Steven Oliver

A youngster from Sunderland has started his career thanks to a specialised training programme that helps people get into the workplace.

Simon Darke, 16, is now working as a support technician at Maxsi, a Web analysis company based in North Shields, after enrolling on a Foundation Modern Apprenticeship in computer installation and implementation, which is funded by the Learning and Skills Council Tyne and Wear.

Working full time at Maxsi, Simon is responsible for building servers, monitoring security on clients' websites and general maintenance of the IT equipment.

Leaving Monkwearmouth Comprehensive School with GCSE qualifications, Simon was keen to get straight into the workplace and, following a visit to his local Connexions office, he enrolled on the Modern Apprenticeship programme with learning provider Sunderland ITEC.

He said: "I am enjoying my role at Maxsi. The staff are very supportive and I have received a lot of advice and help from Sunderland ITEC.

"After finishing school I was unsure of which career path to follow. I have always been very interested in IT and when I discovered the opportunity of being able to work while training, I decided to enrol on a Modern Apprenticeship.

"Through the programme I have been able to put the training that I have learned into practice and I think that it is extremely valuable for me to experience what holding down a full-time job involves and all the responsibilities that come with it."

Founded in 2001, Maxsi creates Web analysis packages and systems for a wide range of companies including a major food retailer, a well-known insurance company and a number of local universities.

The products the company supplies allow customers to measure activity on websites and identify their customer base, which in turn maximises customer spending.

Managing director of Maxsi John Harrison said: "I think that the Modern Apprenticeship programme is not only beneficial to the individual concerned, it can prove a useful tool for the employer.

"Simon is a valuable asset to the firm and the training that he has received through Sunderland ITEC has enabled him to pick up the skills to work quickly and efficiently.

"He is now capable of acting as a support technician, which allows other members of staff to focus on the development side.

"In a small firm like this it is essential that all of our staff reach their potential through training. I feel that the Modern Apprenticeship programme echoes our work ethic and has equipped Simon with the skills and knowledge to work in a busy office environment."

Beginning his Modern Apprenticeship in September, Simon is making rapid progress and is looking forward to completing the course shortly. He hopes this will enable him to progress within the firm.

Modern Apprenticeships are the Government's work-based learning flagship option, and are open to young people aged 16-24.

Providing an alternative route into the world of work, they allow the individual to earn while receiving training through a learning provider or college. Funded by the Learning and Skills Council, there are no training costs for the learner or employer.

STo find out how a Modern Apprenticeship could help you onto the career ladder, call 0800 015 0600 for free, or visit www.realworkrealpay.info
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2004
Words:539
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