Building an IT infrastructure and a future
When you meet Joshua Uwadiae, you first notice his easy smile and his rapid-fire Cockney accent. A clip holds his tie in place as he leans over a keyboard, testing a fix to an IT problem. He appears in his element surrounded by servers and computers, and he breaks into a grin when his workaround succeeds.
“Everything that’s happened in the apprenticeship taught me I can actually become something. The potential’s endless.” Here, in the electric glow of a row of PCs, you’d never know that Joshua used to run in a gang in a rough London neighborhood. You’d never know that he has been arrested and was expelled from school at 15. You’d never know that he describes his old self as ruthless, violent and disrespectful. You’d never know that he once felt hopeless, seeing only a future of moving up in the gang’s hierarchy and selling drugs.
Today, Joshua works as an IT manager at eCourier, an international service that uses an algorithm to ensure couriers efficiently deliver documents, medical specimens and the like. To say Joshua is an important part of the company is an understatement; recently, despite being the youngest member of the team by far, he solved a breakdown in technology for a client in Brussels—a success he points to as the highlight of his fledgling career.
Getting from the point of being a despondent dropout to an invaluable IT manager came from Joshua’s hard work, but he is the first to acknowledge he wouldn’t have made it this far without the support and training of the QA Apprenticeship program. QA partners with Microsoft’s Get On! Initiative, which educates young people in computer systems so they can thrive in technology jobs; the program contributes to Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative to help young people across the globe launch careers and improve their communities.
The apprenticeship program helped Joshua build skills he never had. He discovered a love of technology and mastered soft skills that would help him land a career. He wrote a resumé and practiced interviewing. He was trained in database software, server support and troubleshooting. He found that technical problem-solving satisfied his curiosity and tendency to critically consider challenges from new angles. In addition to computer science skills he earned in training, he learned patience and how to keep a cool head under pressure. The program set up meetings with potential employers and matched Joshua with eCourier. He interviewed and landed the job.