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When it comes to your future, tech apprenticeships open door

PCITURED: Joshua Uwadiae, former IT apprentice with QA – now co-founder and CEO of WeGym and co-founder of Bouncy Bros

Over the last 10 years, QA has helped more than 25,000 apprentices start new careers in the fastest-growing industry in the world – tech. With average industry salaries over £40k and vacancies booming, there’s never been a better time to fire up your future career.

Need some career inspiration? Meet Joshua Uwadiae, former IT apprentice with QA – now Co-Founder and CEO of WeGym and Co-Founder of Bouncy Bros.

For Josh, a tech apprenticeship turned his life around. Josh grew up in Hackney, East London and enjoyed playing football for Victoria Park Rangers, but after failing to go pro, he was expelled from school at 15 after falling in with the wrong crowd. “Hackney was a rough and gritty place back then — I grew up around gangs and chaos,” he says. “Then I decided I wanted to better myself around the age of 15.”

Josh found a mentor and went to college, achieving a level 2 BTEC in IT, but he felt his course was just priming him for university. “The concept of university, all the studying, wasn’t appealing,” he says. “I just wanted to get out there and work and do something. I started looking around at jobs, but I didn’t have the right skills.”

The turning point for Josh was seeing an apprenticeships poster for Microsoft in his company’s breakout area. In 2012, he was accepted as a Microsoft IT apprentice in IT systems and networking for eCourier. The job involved learning about IT security, helping solve IT problems in the workplace and analysing IT servers and infrastructure. Highly motivated in his hands on, technical role, he successfully completed an IT apprenticeship and came runner-up in the prestigious Microsoft Apprentice of the Year Awards, accepting his award in the House of Commons. He was promoted to Head of IT for the company, received the National Apprenticeship Service Ambassador award and became Global Education and Apprenticeships Ambassador for Microsoft.

Josh then went on to build a successful fitness startup, We Gym , matching personal trainers with clients looking to work out in London. His inspiration for the company was an idea from Richard Branson to solve his own problem – the frustration of not being able to find a personal trainer but not wanting to work out on his own. “The concept of WeGym is to make personal training more accessible and fun,” he says. “We connect two to three friends or colleagues with the same goals and get them to share the costs of the personal trainer.”

In 2018, Josh co-founded a new marketing company, Bouncy Bros. He’s now looking at hiring his own apprentices, continuing to use his technology-based experience to grow his companies and acting as an ambassador for apprenticeships. Looking back, Joshua is grateful for how his apprenticeship changed his perspective. “Doing my IT apprenticeship with QA was like being given the tools but having an open path – my future was what I chose to make of it,” he says. “It changed my perspective of technology. With the training mixed with experience and the amount of impact it had on my career in a short space of time, I don’t think it’s comparable to anything else.”

“I was a kid from Hackney and in the blink of an eye I was in the House of Commons picking up my apprenticeship award. The recognition gave me a real sense that good things will happen if you work for them.”

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