Aztech IT Solutions
Aztech IT Solutions is an IT managed service provider founded in 2006 by three brothers who pooled their IT expertise and talent to develop a customer focused concept aimed at businesses in Milton Keynes, London and the surrounding areas.
Chris Houghton, Service Desk Manager at Aztech IT, explained:
“We help businesses get the most out of their business technology by taking over management and maintenance of their IT, from networking to telephones. We are there to listen to their problems, come up with solutions and advise on specialist areas.
“Excellent customer service is essential and that means answering calls from a wide range of customers from small specialist businesses to the financial sector. We deal with customers who have no IT skills, through to owners of businesses and IT experts.
“The apprentices’ experience and confidence has grown rapidly in dealing with customer queries, finding solutions and explaining to customers what the issue was and how it was solved.
“Communication is key to the organization. We need to be able to communicate together well so that we can find the best solutions to problems. The apprentices have very quickly got to grips with our systems and are able to manage desktop or server. They are confident in trouble shooting and communication and that is of huge value to our business.
“Some of the work is time consuming and this is where the apprentices are proving themselves and freeing up the time of senior technicians to deal with more complex issues.”
Working with Bedford College and NITP (National IT Partnership) on a fast track apprenticeship programme, Aztech IT is committed to developing the skills of apprentices within the business and here Chris Houghton answers questions on what that means for Aztech IT:
What is the value of apprenticeships to the business?
The advantage is that the apprentices are fresh out of college and we can mould them into our work culture. They are willing to take our working systems on board, open to suggestion and their thirst and enthusiasm for learning is brilliant.
We have to invest time in the apprentices, as we would with new employees, so that they understand our IT systems and the way we work. We encourage apprentices to decide what areas they would like to specialise in. There is a broad scope of areas they can excel in and that specialism gives our business a distinct advantage. Microsoft desktop technician exams and skills are paramount to the business and the apprenticeship programme meets those needs.
Why did you choose Bedford College and NITP for this training?
We were looking to recruit a junior member of the team and had looked at apprenticeship and academy programmes but they didn’t meet our requirements. When NITP contacted us were impressed with what they had to offer and decided to go ahead.
The idea of apprentices learning whilst on the job and rotating the work between 2 apprentices, combining 2 weeks in college and 2 weeks in work, is a model that suits us.
What was your experience in working with Bedford College and NITP?
From the outset NITP have offered professional advice, including selecting candidates so that we could interview and select who would best fit with our team. They continue to offer support for the business and apprentices.
What is the standard of apprentices and their training?
We were really impressed with their professionalism and manner during interview.
We were confident that they would be able to get into first line response and trouble shooting quickly. The apprentices came across so well they gave us confidence that they would be able to deal with our customers.
Their enthusiasm has had a good effect on the whole team. They are quick to answer the phone and get their teeth into problems.
How did your business benefit from this training?
“Our customers rely on our team to deal confidently with their queries and like to hear a familiar voice. A good relationship with customers is crucial to our business and the apprentices are already delivering.
“Our two apprentices take the pressure off senior technicians by trouble shooting from the first call, setting up user accounts and machine bills – all time consuming. They are good at multi tasking, prioritising work and keen to learn.”
Have training objectives been achieved?
The initial objective was to get the apprentices comfortable with the systems and able to trouble shoot issues, call handling and logging. They have picked this up quickly.
The next objective is to get them more comfortable with domain and business network environments. The aim is for them to gain more experience and confidence in business networks. This will give them a wider understanding of the bigger picture. Communication is key and has been excellent.
What has been the impact on business performance?
Trouble shooting with fresh eyes is a great benefit. We are at the beginning of the programme and are happy with the results.
I would recommend the Bedford College/NiTP apprenticeship programme to other businesses. The selection process was impressive and the quality of candidates exceptional.
And a word from one of the first apprentices to join the programme…
Ben Nigro, aged 19, is one of the first apprentices on the programme and has begun work with Aztech IT. He said:
“I’d been looking for a training programme that would give me qualifications and lead to a career in IT. The NITP course had everything I wanted, including the range of qualifications, training and work experience. It’s a good deal.
“We get to work in a real life situation so that we can put what we learn into practice and deal with a wide range of problems that need solving. I grew up using PCs, studied IT at Biddenham Upper School and have always wanted a career in IT. The fast track training with qualifications and the combination of training and work experience is exactly what I was looking for.”