August’s Learner of the Month is Joseph Cigan

This month we are pleased to present Joseph Cigan from B M Howarth as our  Learner of the Month. Joe has now completed all of his work at Estio towards his Level 3 IT, Infrastructure and Telecommunications Professionals apprenticeship, and is looking forward to progressing onto a Level 4 in September.

B M Howarth are a firm of chartered accountants based in Halifax with offices across West Yorkshire. They offer accounts, taxation and business advisory services to a range of businesses and individuals. B M Howarth have been taking on apprentices for over 15 years; they have taxation, accountancy and IT apprentices.

Working in the IT department of B M Howarth enables Joe to work mainly with his colleagues internally offering them help with all things IT: fixing computer issues, diagnosing problems with printers and updating databases with client information. Joe also visits clients to help them with SAGE software (accountancy software), setting it up and maintaining the software.

Ben Newall, Joe’s manager, nominated Joe for this award telling us: “After a somewhat ‘bumpy’ start, he has now settled in well and has made friends here at B M Howarth. His technical competence has grown to a point where he is now quite capable of resolving 90% of the day-to-day technical queries without any input from myself. Joseph has acquired a range of experience, and recently passed his driving test meaning he is now able to drive the company pool car and can provide IT support to our other offices and clients in the field.”

Ben Newall and Joseph Cigan of BM Howarth

Ben Newall (left) congratulates Joseph on his achievement

Joe attended Brighouse High School and Brighouse Sixth Form, and originally chose to study Drama before changing to IT. Having always seen IT as a hobby, breaking and fixing computers in his spare time, Joe originally applied for University to study Geology at Hull before realising that he could do an IT apprenticeship. He told us, “I had originally thought that apprenticeships mainly involved Plumbing or careers like that, I didn’t actually realise you could do an IT apprenticeships until my Mum pointed them out to me.”

“I chose an IT apprenticeship because I really enjoyed studying it at A-Level. I found I could be really creative with it, learning about start-stop motion videos and web design, but I also really enjoy to technical side to it. I really love setting up the infrastructure of IT, so much so that I spend all of my wage on shiny new tech.”

“I like IT because it gives me an opportunity to help a variety of different people, and that’s something I really enjoy doing. I’d like to learn more about IT because I have a real passion for it, ideally I’d like to know everything my manager Ben knows. I enjoy my job so much that I also have my own business cards so that I can expand my knowledge as a hobby and earn a little bit of extra money on weekends; my Grandad has handed out the cards at his Golf Club and I’ve already had a few requests to fix things.”

“I really enjoy my training at Estio Training Centre in Leeds because it’s really nice to spend time with people who all have the same interests as myself and have really similar jobs, we can talk all day about computers and tech, comparing our experiences. The trainers are really good too, I can ask them about anything IT related and they will know something about it, even if it’s not directly related to the lesson. They have a really extensive level of knowledge, due probably to the fact that they have worked for a long time within the IT industry before training. The lessons they teach should be quite boring when I just read the slides, but somehow they have a knack for making the teaching interesting!”

Ben told us about B M Howarth’s experience with Estio, “We have a long-standing positive business relationship with Estio so using Estio was easy choice for us. At BMH, we treat our apprentices like any other member of staff. We want them to experience work life to its fullest so we try to ensure their tasks are varied. This in turn improves productivity within the business because each apprentice is an important part of the whole. In my personal experience it is a rewarding experience because the more time and effort I spend teaching my apprentice, the more tasks they can take off my hands and the more efficient our department becomes.”

We are so thrilled for Joe that she he has had such a positive experience with both Estio and B M Howarth, and really look forward to Joe coming back for more training in September for his level 4.

If you would like to nominate a learner for Learner of the Month then please contact with the following details:

Learner’s Name:
Manager’s Name:
Contact tel no:
Reason for nomination: