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Scottish software business launches young apprenticeship programme

Apprentice Scheme
Directors Tony, Martin & Mark with new apprentice Ryan Gemmell

A revival of Scotland’s ancient apprenticeship system has been applied to the computer software sector by a fast-growing Glasgow-based company. Berkeley Myles, developer of ProgressPlus, one of the UK’s most successful production control software systems, has hired school leaver Ryan Gemmell, 17, to undertake a modern apprenticeship in information and communication technology (ICT).

The company, which employs 14 people at its £1m turnover business, said that of nearly 30 candidates who applied for a position as a software developer earlier in the year, Ryan possessed all their attributes their business was seeking. Tony MacBride, director at Berkeley Myles, said: “The apprenticeship is a departure from our normal hiring route, but we have great expectations of Ryan, who will become a fully-fledged developer after his year-long apprenticeship. If it works as well as we expect it to, our apprenticeship programme will become an established route to full-time employment.” Learning takes place through the apprentice working to secure a certain number of modules in a range of subjects related to problem-solving and day-to-day tasks.

Once complete, these are inserted into his ‘e-portfolio’ which, at regular intervals, is reviewed by an assessor from Motherwell College which is an awarding authority. “When he has achieved the necessary range of modules, he progresses within his apprenticeship. It is a very practical programme, which suits us and greatly develops Ryan’s skill set”, said Mr MacBride.

“Ryan’s current role is to customise customers’ external document “layouts” for their quotation, job card, purchase order, delivery note and invoice documentation. This can be a time consuming exercise for the existing developers and so Ryan’s contribution frees up their time to let them create new features & functionality within ProgressPlus.

The layout customisation service is part of the Berkeley Myles offering and is included in the system cost with no additional charges”, said Mr MacBride. With ProgressPlus, its highly-regarded production software solution, Berkeley Myles has carved out a significant UK niche in production control software, which tracks work orders opened for the manufacturing process and collects information about the production control process.
Berkeley Myles has so far secured more than 2000 licence holders in more than 250 sites. “ProgressPlus is being used by a range of companies in the SME sector, employing anywhere between 5 to 250 people. Our clients are commercially astute, cost conscious people and, in dealing with them, our employees must have a strong portfolio of interpersonal skills”, he said.

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