Drupal Apprenticeships

The story so far...

In 2013 a chance conversation with a Drupal developer, Peter Brownell of Code Positive, sparked an idea to develop an apprenticeship specialising in Drupal. I have several years’ experience of delivering apprenticeship qualifications, Peter has experience of using Drupal and is an active member of the Drupal community, great combination to get it going.

We started by looking at the apprenticeship qualification and deciding which units would best suit the type of work the apprentices would be doing. That done, we agreed it would be best to run a two week 'pre-apprenticeship' course, where we could train potential apprentices in some basic web dev skills, including Drupal. The course would also give me an opportunity to assess the recruits' aptitude and attitude. I wanted to be sure I was sending a good quality candidate out to interviews.

In September 2013 I recruited a group of 8 potential apprentices and we ran the first pre-apprenticeship course in London. This was shortly followed by another round of recruiting and training, this time in Coventry. These two programmes resulted in two apprentices being hired, one in London with Code Positive and one in Coventry with ComputerMinds. Many of the other recruits that took part in the programme went on to take other apprenticeships, unfortunately not part of our Drupal programme, but some I still hear from occasionally and they're doing well.

Our first two Drupal apprentices are doing really well. Tyler Collins is 18, had dropped out of school and had NEVER used code/programming before joining our apprenticeship programme. He has been writing a blog to share his experience, check out his site - https://tyler.happyapprentices.com

Although we did have some success with the first two programmes, it was clear that improvements could be made. I met with Hedley Smith from Agile Collective, he had been working with a few developers to create a Drupal learning resource, OpenDrupal. We discussed how to improve our next pre-apprenticeship programme. They got to work on creating the curriculum and learning resources, I got to work on recruiting another group of potential apprentices. My aim was to recruit school/college leavers, to give an opportunity to youngsters that wouldn't be going to university.

In February 2014 we ran another pre-apprenticeship course in London. The OpenDrupal Foundation had been developed further, primarily by Hedley Smith, James Lefrere and Crispin Read. It now had two weeks’ worth of learning resources. So this time around the training focused on the OpenDrupal curriculum. I had a group of 7 young school/college leavers, eager to get an opportunity as a Drupal Apprentice. We ran the course for two weeks, the potential apprentices worked through the OpenDrupal curriculum supported by Happy Computers' trainers and Drupal experts Hedley Smith, Crispin Read, James Lefrere, Vamory Traore and Chandeep Khosa. The course finished with everyone going to DrupalCamp London. The students went along with their trainer Patrick Kelly and some of the developers; to showcase their new skills and the sites they had built over the two weeks. Check them out -

The programme resulted in 6 young people being taken on as Drupal Apprentices with -
White Fuse Media
Dennis Publishing
Bright Sites Consulting

A tremendous success! Huge thanks to everyone that helped achieve this especially Pat Kelly, Hedley Smith and Crispin Read.

What’s next?

I'd love to give many more young people a chance to progress in a career in Drupal and would like to run this programme around the country. What I need to be able to do this –

Employers - any company that employs Drupal developers and is willing to take on an apprentice
Mentors - any Drupal developers that would be interested in mentoring young people, on the pre-apprenticeship course and during their apprenticeship
Contributors - any Drupal developers that would be interested in building the OpenDrupalcurriculum from being a two week pre-apprenticeship course into a full years’ worth of learning resources to help create the next generation of Drupal experts


Sign up here - http://opendrupal.org/

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I sincerely hope to be working with you one day on this amazing project.