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Well placed for a successful career

01 Mar 2009

The Channel caught up with the ACE students after their work placement experience, as the course’s conclusion creeps ever closer.

The ACE diploma students recently experienced a particularly tough exam to gain their Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator qualification. It was so tough that all but two of the students fell short of the pass mark and had to retake the exam. Shayna Bryers was one of the two who managed to ace it first time, but unfortunately Michael Lovell was among the many who needed a second stab at it. He said that most of the class was underprepared and that “just knowing the base material from the past three courses didn’t quite prepare us enough to get by this exam with flying colours”. However, he saw it as a humbling and valuable learning experience. “I was able to recognise a weakness of mine and then go back and correct it, enabling me to move forward with very satisfying results,” he detailed in his blog.

Most recently, though, Lovell and Bryers have been on their work placements. Their respective placements were determined when the students were accepted for the course, and it even dictated which students made the cut, with employers pre-scanning CVs prior to acceptance. It was expected that the placements would result in continuing employment for all of the ACE diploma students. However, some of the companies that had signed up to take students on board recently reconsidered, jeopardising the employment opportunity for four of the students. Thankfully, ACE Managing Director Tony Skelton was able to report that job offers have now been presented to all of the students who had missed out on placement. “We’ve got a pool of around about 100 companies that want to be a part of this course,” began Skelton. “Companies have put job offers on the table now, and the students are keeping their options open as to which they pick up.  All of them will be 100% employed by the end of the course. We’re delighted that we’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve.”

After their placements, Lovell and Bryers talked about their experiences. Lovell worked onsite at Axon’s Central Auckland location, which houses around 150 staff and one big server room. “It went really, really well. Mostly I just shadowed people, figuring out what they do and asking questions.”

In the short week that Lovell was on placement at Axon, his upcoming responsibilities with the company became clear.  “I’ll probably be working with two of their major clients as a first-level engineer, helping them with issues that come up. I put my hand up for a position they’ve got going to help them with Windows Server Upgrade Service.”

Similarly, Bryers’ experience at Microsoft served as a preview of what she’ll be doing at the conclusion of the course. “It was really cool. I had a mentor assigned to me, Ronel Volsoo. She’s a Technical Account Manager under their business services division. We went out on client visits to companies like Axon, the Auckland City Council and Manukau City Council.”

With their placements now over with and two weeks’ worth of the usual business, the studious pair and their classmates have a two-week study break before exams and assessments round off the course in early April.

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