Sunderland training firm riding high on apprenticeships boom

Laura Scott, Samuel Cotterill, Josh Summerside and Jonathan Langan of Xiscad Training in the new training suite at the North East BIC.
Laura Scott, Samuel Cotterill, Josh Summerside and Jonathan Langan of Xiscad Training in the new training suite at the North East BIC.
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A TRAINING firm is reaping the benefits of booming interest in apprenticeships and taken on extra space.

Xiscad Training, based at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (Bic) in Sunderland Enterprise Park, specialises in skilled IT apprenticeships including software development, computer maintenance and design and networking.

Launched in May 2012 from a small office and a classroom, the business now occupies six rooms, including a training suite.

The firm has trained more than 70 apprentices so far and the expansion has seen another 40 posts advertised.

Training manager Steven Carr set up the business with the aim of creating an apprenticeship programme that would meet the needs of both business and apprentice.

“We aim to provide a high-calibre apprentice with a high-quality skill set that will make them a long-term valuable asset to the business that employs them,” he said.

“We achieve this by providing a programme that is delivered based on both the employer’s requirements and an unrivalled learning experience for the apprentice themselves, one which covers the wider employment skills required by businesses.”

The company, which employs 10 staff and is in partnership with Sunderland College and training provider Learning Curve, has seen 78 per cent of trainees continue in work or move into higher education after completing their apprenticeship.

Xiscad has itself employed several apprentices, including 19-year-olds Josh Summerside, who has been employed as a supervisor, administrator Laura Scott and assessor Samuel Cotterill.

The firm has said it has seen an increase in the number of young people seeing apprenticeships as a way into a career, which has benefitted the business, but says the way it is run has also helped it expand.

Operations manager Jonathan Langan said: “The Bic provided us with the opportunity to start small and expand and not many business locations are set up in this way.

“Having access to over 100 businesses from a wide range of sectors, potentially looking to take on an apprentice, was also a big selling point.”

BIC bosses have been so impressed by Xiscad’s approach to training they have appointed apprentice Craig White, 19, to the centre’s IT team.

Colin Turnbull, IT manager at the BIC, said: “Their unique business model is providing opportunities for young people across the region and is supplying businesses here with high-calibre apprentices.”

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