When IT Company Director Barry Booth offered to do a favour for a business contact, little did he know it would result in him finding a self-taught IT whizz kid and a new employee.
Barry, the MD of Aberdeen-based Intellicore, offered to help out at Exceler8, an employability training course, run by Enterprise North East Trust. He agreed to take part in a role play interview for a delegate who had an interest in web development, to offer him some valuable interview experience by playing the part of a prospective employer.
It was in doing this that he met 19-year-old Sean Duthie from Fraserburgh, who had been referred to the course by his local Job Centre. He’d been unemployed for a year since leaving Banff and Buchan College with an HNC in IT. Previously, he’d left Fraserburgh Academy with few qualifications.
But just 15 minutes into the interview, Barry realised he was dealing with someone special.
“He was very shy and, like most young people, he found the interview process difficult.” recalls Barry. “But when I began asking him questions about specifics, I realised he possessed a wealth of IT knowledge far beyond that of someone who had never been to university.”
Barry didn’t even have a vacancy at his company, which employs a staff of seven at its offices in Regent Quay, Aberdeen. But by the end of the interview, he had decided to offer Sean a six-week placement developing web applications.
“He effectively created a job for himself,” said Barry.
“To me, there’d always been a bit of a stigma attached to referrals from the Job Centre, but I don’t mind admitting how wrong I was. Sean was a guy who genuinely wanted a job and was prepared to work hard to find one. He’s an example to any other teenagers out there who find themselves unemployed for long periods.
“While unemployed, he hadn’t wasted his time. Instead, he’d used it to hone his skills and keep up to date with the latest software development technology.”
In fact, Sean admits he was the stereotypical IT “geek”, spending “the majority” of his waking hours working at his computer in his bedroom. He became hooked on computers after playing games on his grandparents’ PC. He went on to build his own websites and develop an on-line game engine, all without any formal training.
“I learned through internet tutorials and joining on-line communities,” he says.
Now, he is looking forward to a bright future with Intellicore, which specialises in Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, web application development and mobile application development.”
“I’ve just finished my six week placement and now have a full time position,” he says. “It’s very exciting. I’ve already learned things and faced challenges I’d never considered when developing my own websites.”
And Barry is delighted with the progress of his newest employee.
“His biggest strength is that he loves what he does,” he says. “He’s turned a hobby into a career.”
The Exceler8 programme was awarded to Enterprise North East Trust by DWP in Aberdeenshire (Peterhead & Fraserburgh) and Dundee City. The 8 week programme covered employability skills such as CV writing, interview skills and refining job searches as well as business challenges, networking and raising money for charity.
The money was raised by the group planning and organising a family fun day at Peterhead Football Club and the money raised from that went to Community Dial a Bus. To select the charity the Exceler8 group listened to pitches from 6 charities and selected the one they wanted to represent.
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