Two lads who were pals when pupils at an island school and then did the same course at college have both been taken on as apprentices with the same company.
Paul Mclear and Andrew Radcliffe were both unaware that the other had applied to Skanco when the firm advertised the two-year trainee roles which attracted more than 30 applicants.
The 20-year-olds were friends when they attended Queen Elizabeth II High School in Peel, and then studied for an HNC in computing at Isle of Man College.
Andrew Kermode, technical manager at professional IT services firm Skanco Business Systems Ltd, said: ‘We were particularly impressed with both Paul and Andrew.
‘We were looking for applicants who were genuinely interested in IT and not just saying ‘‘I want to work in IT’’ and both Paul and Andrew demonstrated that all important interest.’
Over the next two years they will benefit from a comprehensive training programme leading to industry qualifications and certificates, including the Higher National Certificate in Computing.
Mr Kermode said:‘We have run the apprenticeship scheme for over 20 years now and many of the engineers that we have trained in the scheme are still with us. Those who have left comment on what a great opportunity it gave them to get into IT.’
He added: ‘Paul and Andrew, who are both keen cyclists, have joined a company which is renowned for supporting the island’s sport, having recently committed to supporting the Commonwealth Games Association and the Isle of Man team for the Games in 2014.
‘We wish them all the best as they embark on their career with us.’
Paul, from Peel, said: ‘Working in IT is what I always wanted to do and in a job with prospects and Skanco, a respected name on the island, offers all that.
‘I recognise the opportunity I’ve been given and it’s just great that I’m where I always aspired to be.’ Andrew, from Ballaugh, was equally enthusiastic. He said: ‘I’m ambitious and wanted an apprenticeship so as to progress in the competitive IT sector, I couldn’t be happier.’
One of Skanco’s first apprentices was Richard Wheeler who, from being on his own admission a fresh-faced 18-year-old when he joined, is now a valued engineer with the company and married with a five-year-old daughter.
He said: ‘It‘s a great place to work, you are left to get on with the job and there’s no one sitting on your shoulder.’ Richard celebrated his 20 years with the company this year.
Paul and Andrew were the only two apprentices taken on by Skanco this year.