Alex and Connor pave the way for IT apprenticeships at Marshall

Alex and Connor pave the way for IT apprenticeships at Marshall

As anyone familiar with Marshall will know, we view apprenticeships as a time-tested way to help young people establish their careers, learning (and earning) in a secure environment while picking up hands-on experience and skills that will stay with them for life.

We are especially proud of our industry-leading aviation and engineering programmes, but it may be a surprise to some that not all our apprentices are training to be fitters or technicians. Marshall’s first IT apprentices, Alex and Connor, are a case in point.

Inspired by technology

Thanks to Cambridge’s legacy in the history of computing, Alex might be one of the first people for whom IT is has been the profession of choice across three generations. “My grandfather studied physics and maths at Cambridge University, then went on to develop motherboards,” he explains. “We’ve worked in computing and IT across multiple generations now!”

For Connor, the desire to pursue a career in IT came from a lifelong fascination with technology: “Ever since I was young, I’ve always tinkered with laptops and computers,” he recalls. “I just enjoy learning all I can about technology and how to fix and improve it.”

Why not university?

Both Alex and Connor spent time weighing an apprenticeship against a university degree, but ultimately found the decision straightforward.

For Alex, once again family was an important factor. “My granddad was a big motivator for me to go into an apprenticeship,” he says. “As an employer, he saw the value of hiring people with practical experience, which can fill gaps in theoretical knowledge.”

Likewise, Connor felt that “employers are interested in people with applied knowledge.”

“The concept of university never really appealed - it just wasn’t for me. Rather than picking up a lot of debt, I’m already earning which feels great.”

A flying start

Since joining Marshall in September 2023, Alex and Connor have settled in remarkably quickly and have already tackled several large projects, including installing a mobile four-way work station for the engineers in our hangars.

In their first six months they have also spent time on Marshall’s internal IT helpdesk, preparing new equipment for use, and helping plan and implement office moves.

The tasks they have been given are all designed to fulfil their learning benchmarks, providing points of reference to demonstrate in their course work.

"One day you are helping fix bugs over the phone and the next you are developing a completely new kind of work station to monitor aircraft vitals,” Connor explains.

Alex, too, is thriving as he tackles new and unfamiliar work. “I’ve been asked by our software management team to get a group of users onto another system,” he says. “It’s something I’ve never done in my life, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. It’s amazing!”

We’re very impressed by Alex’s and Connor’s progress so far, and by their passion for their chosen career paths with Marshall - we look forward to watching their progress over the years to come.

To learn more about Marshall’s industry-leading apprenticeships, click here.