Tech-savvy 14-year-old blazes a trail for young tech talent at 3Squared

Published Monday 18 June 2018 in Sheffield

A 14-year old Computer Science student from Westfield School, Sheffield, put his tech savviness to the test recently during a sought-after two-week work experience with Sheffield-based software developer 3Squared.

So impressed was the company that they are now looking at offering Leon an apprenticeship when he has completed his studies at Westfield. Meanwhile, Leon enjoyed the taste of working life at the company so much that he has already been back during the holidays.

3Squared provide innovative software solutions for the rail and construction sectors and have offices in the north and the south of the UK. The business is growing and finding skilled recruits is a constant challenge, the company invests substantially in giving young people an insight into their business. Work experience placement at the company are highly sought after and offered on a competitive basis.

Leon’s work placement with the company was arranged through the Better Learners Better Workers programme backed by Sheffield City Council and run by local digital sector skills specialist, Sero Skills. Students on the programme, known as Ambassadors, take part in a range of employer-led activities, classroom skills development sessions and visits to different workplaces.

Leon had to submit an application to 3Squared for his placement and undertake a formal interview, but felt equipped for these challenges: “The interview went really well as through the Better Learners Better Workers programme I had got used to speaking to people I’d never met before, including employers, so I wasn’t nervous.”

Speaking about the two weeks at 3Squared, Leon said: “The work experience showed me how a team works together, and I was able to go into a few meetings to listen in on team discussions. In the first week I learnt about the programming languages 3Squared used, and by the second week I was working on projects and learning more about the coding languages – both  of which I had never used before.”

He added: “The atmosphere is a lot calmer than I expected. I thought it would be stressful with lots of deadlines and seriousness, but I found it to be quite a relaxed atmosphere. It was nice to get an insight into the working day, and I quickly got used to the routine.”

When Leon started on work experience, the programming languages used at 3Squared, Swift and Java, were completely new to him. By the end of the work experience he had worked on projects using both languages. The team at 3Squared was impressed by Leon’s skillset and his ability to pick up new languages, but above all by his work ethic, and have since offered him an apprenticeship at the company.

Operations Director Emma Marshall said, “Leon made a big impression at 3Squared with his technical skills and level of maturity. He applied himself to everything we gave him and took the initiative to suggest other areas where he could help. This is the kind of attitude that we look for in our staff and we can’t wait to see what he will do next. We’re keen for him to come back as he’d make a great addition to our team.”

Emma added: “3Squared are committed to investing in the talent we have in Sheffield and The Better Learners Better Workers programme shows what a difference a work-ready attitude and employability skills can help make in the transition from education to employment.  We’d encourage other employers in the city to get involved as it’s a rewarding experience which will have long-lasting business benefits.”

Leon is planning to go back and do some further work with 3Squared in the summer and said: “I really enjoyed it. The experience has confirmed that I want to go into software development and I would love to do my apprenticeship with 3Squared as they will help me go through both College and University alongside working there.”

Better Learners Better Workers