On way to work while at school

2nd April 2004 at 01:00
The world of work and school are very closely linked for Andrew Johnson.

The 17-year-old sits alongside his fellow pupils at Monkseaton community high in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, studying A-level physics and the Advanced Vocational Certificate in Education in information technology.

But when they head home at the end of lessons, he switches to his pound;6,000 part-time job as trainee network manager in the school's IT department.

By the time he is 18 he hopes to have become the school's deputy network manager, with a salary of pound;9,000, and by 21 to have completed an Open University degree in computing.

Dr Paul Kelley, the headteacher, said: "It's a win-win situation. Andrew will be paid by the school while completing his studies and gaining five years' experience of a real job in an area where there is a national shortage.

"He should avoid student debt and be extremely employable by the end of it.

"Meanwhile, the school benefits from his growing expertise."

Andrew also plans to use his wages to fund two Microsoft computer qualifications. He will pay for his Open University degree as he takes the various courses, which could eventually add up to around pound;3,500.

As the experiment has proved successful Dr Kelly is now considering giving other students the chance of working as network managers at the school.

"It's hard work, especially when my friends go home after lessons and I have to go back to working on the school's computers and IT equipment," said Andrew.

"But it will, I hope, get me the qualifications and experience to get a job, without all the worry of debt."

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