Aaron, 19, from Hornchurch, was disappointed with his GCSE results. They meant that he was unable to enter an IT career as quickly as he wanted to. “Sitting in a classroom with 25 other children while a teacher talked at us didn’t work for me. I like to work things out for myself,” said Aaron.
Nevertheless, he managed to find himself a digital media and graphic design course at a college. However, he left after three months. “It was just like being at school,” he said. “It was important to have confidence and I knew that I would succeed despite my lack of GCSEs so I kept looking for options.”
Aaron found himself a traineeship scheme run by QA, the training company. It helped people like him improve on their qualifications, especially maths and English, and gain real-world work experience as well as some basic IT qualifications. It also taught those taking part about how to conduct themselves professionally, dress appropriately and how to handle interviews.
“School gives you none of that,” said Aaron. “And it’s so important, yet there are no GCSEs in any of those subjects! I knew that if I used my personality and acted in an approachable manner, it would be a big step in realising my ambitions.”
As a result of the scheme, Aaron was accepted into an apprenticeship scheme with the Institute of Management and Control that would have required a number of GCSEs. After he finished this he joined Computer Talk, where Aaron now plays a key part in managing IT for the company’s school customers.
“My learning hasn’t stopped after the apprenticeship, I do on-the-job training, which really suits me, and I’m studying for the G-Suite Google exams and other technical qualifications.”
Aaron’s ambition is to get involved in cyber-security and his ambition means that he’s disappointed not to have done that so far, but he is still just 19 and he knows there is a skills gap there waiting to be filled.
His advice to anyone who feels their GCSEs are a setback is “Consider traineeship schemes and above all, be approachable!”.