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Undergraduate study

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Johnathan Cooling

Johnathan has started a one-year paid placement after completing two years of a foundation degree, and will return to complete an honours degree.

Johnathon Cooling

BSc (Hons) Computing

What brought you to study at Teesside University?

During my time at school I felt that university was not for me, and I went on to complete an IT apprenticeship which gave me an insight into a business environment. I completed the apprenticeship with two Microsoft qualifications (MCP, MCDST) and also an IT Technician qualification, CompTIA A+.

After working as a forklift truck driver for two years, I felt that I needed to re-evaluate my options, and decided to get back into IT. Being in contact with friends that were studying at Teesside University, I heard about the good opportunities that it has to offer.

What’s the course like?

When I started the foundation degree I had high aspirations that have been met. I found that help was always available and always provided in an understanding way. I have enjoyed the course, and my grades reflect this. I have also enjoyed student life here.

In my first year I lived in the University halls of residence, and in my second year I shared a house with friends I made in halls. Recently I joined the music society where I learned to play electric guitar, and this gave me an opportunity to DJ at a local night club.

After completing my second year I have gone on to a one year paid placement in Washington and it is nice to have a salary even though I am still a student.

Tell us about the placement?

I am currently working as a .Net Analyst / Programmer at Simpson Group in Washington. Simpson Groups’ IT Development Manager, Dr Mark Flanagan, is a former lecturer at Teesside University, who is collaborating with Teesside University to give second year students a placement year and offer a KTP programme for graduate students. As a result of this Simpson Group is heavily investing in IT to provide in house software solutions.

Simpson Group prints point-of-sale products for national retail chains, which covers a vast range of posters and display units which you will find in shops promoting their products. I am developing software for Simpson Group to use internally – for instance, a piece of software that allows staff to book holidays, which will replace the existing paper based system. Soon I will be moving to Newcastle, to be nearer to Simpson Group, and I’m looking forward to exploring a new city and its lifestyle.