Allstate Northern Ireland set up The 'Good Hands Academy' as an initiative to raise funds for The Prince's Trust Million Makers Challenge in 2012. Allstate NI successfully raised £7,500 by setting up short education courses on site to up-skill employees who wished to expand their IT knowledge in the increasingly popular field of mobile applications. All proceeds went directly to The Prince's Trust where it is used to help give practical and financial support to the young people who need it most. The .NET introduction course and Android Application Development course were taught by Allstate NI trainers—Gerry Byrne and David Wilson, who both have over 30 years experience in teaching at Belfast Metropolitan College.
Over 25 employees took the courses and once completed, Allstate NI sought to gain certified accreditation for those that wanted it through Belfast Metropolitan College. 3 graduates obtained Higher National level qualifications through the courses and Allstate NI is able to boast that its Android Application Development course is in fact one of the first certified accreditations made available in the whole of the UK.
Anath Natarajan, an Analyst Programmer has worked for the company for 5 years and graduated in 2012 with a Higher National in .NET, "This was a very challenging course but I received a lot of support from the training team and it was a great idea to have it accredited by the BMC".
Owen Coogan and Jack Sherry, both team leaders, have worked for Allstate for over 15 years between them, were amongst the first in the UK to graduate with a Higher National qualification in Android Applications. Owen who is currently studying for a Masters in Computing at the University of Ulster Jordanstown Campus commented that this course has helped a great deal towards it, expanding his knowledge in the field.
Jonathan Heggarty, Head of School Electrical, Electronic and Computing Technologies at Belfast Metropolitan College had the following to say,
'Belfast Met has had a long and productive relationship with Allstate NI. We are delighted to collaborate on this programme which allows employees to gain formal recognition of their learning, in this case in Android Development and .Net. As Northern Ireland continues to compete in the global IT marketplace, it is vital for individuals and organisations to continually develop skills in current and emerging technologies. Certification such as that gained through this project evidences the high level skill attained by Allstate staff. Belfast Met looks forward to continuing to work in partnership with Allstate NI into the future'.
For further information please contact Emma Burdett in the Marketing Department at Allstate NI at firstname.lastname@example.org