As the battle for digital talent in the North West continues, integrated marketing and digital agency Access has joined the Manchester Metropolitan University’s new degree apprenticeship scheme, welcoming 18-year old Ben Ryder to its team as an earn-as-you learn apprentice.
Having completed his ‘A’ Levels, Ben has started his ‘Digital and Technology Solutions Degree apprenticeship’ which involves working full time Access while studying towards a fully accredited degree-level qualification.
Mark Hope, Digital Director at Access, said: “Supporting new talent is a long standing commitment within the agency and this is another fantastic industry initiative we’re now involved with. We firmly believe that there are some amazing, creative and talented students out there who have not yet gone into the workplace, or decided to go to higher education.
“By creating this new position within our company, we are able to grow and develop Ben’s skills with real-time support and training, ensuring he benefits from being part of a collaborative team and the responsibilities that go with it. The skill set needed within digital roles changes so quickly we feel this is a great way to enter our sector.
“Ben is now learning about professional development techniques as well as getting an understanding of wider business operations across other teams. Working with open technologies like PHP, Drupal and Acquia, Ben will progress onto providing maintenance and support on completed projects, through to supporting and shadowing senior developers on new projects.
“His working, day to day role will run in parallel to his Undergraduate degree studies at Manchester Metropolitan University providing him with the best of both worlds, a qualification and hands on experience.”
Speaking about his new role, Ben said “I wanted the chance to do something that wasn’t an outdated university degree and when I looked at Access, its client portfolio and credibility as an Acquia partner, I knew it was the sort of forward thinking company I wanted to be part of. I was so happy when I was offered the Degree apprenticeship as it means I can complete my education whilst also working in an innovative business environment.”
As well as this inaugural position, Access has hired an additional three members into its development team to add capacity and specialist expertise in both backend and frontend development areas.
Tom Tosis has been appointed as Senior Developer and will begin work with the Edrington team at Access, working on Edrington’s global digital platform and numerous international brand websites. He was previously Lead Developer at Barcelona-based Oaklins international and brings with him more than eight years’ Drupal and open source experience. He was attracted to Access as it offered him flexibility and a remote working opportunity, as well as the chance to get involved with different technologies.
Rakesh James is a well known member of the Drupal developer community. With over 10 years’ experience he has been recognised by Dries Buytaert, creator and project lead of the Drupal project and ranked in the Top 20 contributors list. Continuing his work with Drupal 8 he will work on WaterAid, evolving their global web platform while planning to increase the level of open source contributions made by Access. The company’s culture, values and commitment to supporting open source projects attracted Rakesh to Access.
Alan Oakden joins Access as a Front End Developer. Previously Chief Technology Officer at Latus Health and also Online Services Liaison at Stem Learning, Alan was attracted to the new role as it provided an opportunity to work alongside a larger team of developers, learning new technology and best practice development workflows. Alan starts his work at Access across a number of frontend web projects, as well as leading on some new app projects using React Native.
Commenting on the new hires Mark Hope said: “Finding the right calibre of digital talent is a challenge for many businesses so we’re really proud to be able to welcome these highly experienced developers to our team. With an increased focus on training and recruitmenting from across the UK and Europe we’ve a solid plan in place for our next phase of growth.”