Ian Hopkins Coleg y Cymoedd

Ian Hopkins - Coleg y Cymoedd

Ian Hopkins with grandad Kenneth Tilley and mum Carol, Ian became the third generation of his family to graduate from USW and previous colleges. Neil Gibson

Ian Hopkins studied a foundation degree in ICT at Coleg y Cymoedd and has now progressed to employment working as an ICT Technician in a local comprehensive school. Ian is pictured here with his Grandfather and Mother who are both also University of South Wales graduates.

We recently caught up with former student Ian Hopkins in his new job so he could tell us about his course, graduation and life after university.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m 23 years of age and I’m originally from Llanbradach in Caerphilly. At the end of 2016, I graduated from USW with a foundation degree in ICT. I’m now working in Lewis Girls School as an ICT Technician.

Tell us more about why you chose to study at a college and the course you studied?

I studied a foundation degree in Information Communication Technology full time over two years at my local college Coleg y Cymoedd Ystrad Mynach Campus. The fact that I was able to stay local had many benefits. The college was easily accessible with just a bus ride away and as I continued to live at home with my parents it worked out that I was saving quite a bit on accommodation fees too.

I really enjoyed the course particularly the work experience element. Over the course of the two years I had to undertake 600 hours of relevant industry work experience. My placement was with a children’s book publishing company where I helped build, manage and maintain their website. Typically, I would spend three days in college and two days on placement. The work experience was invaluable to me as whilst I was studying I wasn’t just getting the academic knowledge but also the practical side too which I could add to my CV.

What motivated you to study a university level course?

A couple of things really … my family were a huge inspiration as both my mother and grandfather had obtained university qualifications so it is always something I wanted to purse. I thought if they could do it then so could I. Also I really wanted to test myself and see how far I could go and how far I could push myself. Whilst I was studying for my level three qualification our group had a talk about the HE courses available to study at the college. I done some further research and the course was just perfect for me and fitted my needs.

Tell us more about your previous study prior to your foundation degree and any extracurricular activity you feel helped prepare you for HE study

Prior to the FD I studied various IT courses to build myself up to HE level. Through these courses I had the opportunity to explore numerous elements such as networking, software, hardware, programming and coding. I discovered that programming wasn’t my strongest areas so I swotted up on that. I also did lots of additional self -study and some online mathematics courses to help boost my numeracy skills too.

You’re now in career related employment how did this opportunity come about?

After I finished my foundation degree I really wanted to get more hands on industry related experience. I had been applying for jobs and in my job search I seen that the local authority were looking to recruit an ICT technician at Lewis Girls school. I submitted an application form and here I am. I’m really enjoying my new role and the opportunities and challenges it presents. Every day is different and I get to do a variety of things from building computers to modifying software, setting up IT resources, implementing security settings on IT equipment prior to pupil use and doing some data protection matters too. I was initially employed on a short term contract but this has just recently been extended.    

Do you have any future career ambitions?  

Now that I’m working in the IT sector long term I would like to move over to something more advanced. I’m not sure yet what that will involve but perhaps working for a large IT company or something of that nature. For for the time being I’m really happy with my job and the experience I’m gaining.