MS Tech Solutions, a Jamaican-based multinational information technology company, has sought to satisfy the market for information technology (IT) specialists by training the next generation of software enthusiasts. In recent years, the demand for careers in IT has skyrocketed, with analysts indicating that there are nearly five million vacancies in the cybersecurity field alone.
Through its 12-month Purple Team Internship Programme, MS Tech Solutions aims to train graduates in the areas of cloud management, systems management, and cybersecurity. During the internship, participants will complete nine sought-after, industry-recognised certifications.
This is followed by three months of on-the-job training. Afterwards, successful candidates can receive full-time employment in any MS Tech Solutions subsidiary based on the area in which they want to specialise.
CEO of MS Tech Solutions Mario Sparkes explained that the idea of launching an internship programme first came to him two and half years ago after experiencing challenges with local tertiary graduates.
He said: “We hired a number of graduates from UWI (University of the West Indies) and UTech (University of Technology), and we realised there was a significant gap in the knowledge they had coming out of university. That put us in a very difficult situation to hit the ground running as it relates to satisfying our customers.”
These challenges were also experienced by several of his industry colleagues. After observing how larger technology firms, such as Microsoft and Google, satisfied their needs for skilled professionals, Sparkes decided to train tertiary alumni as soon as they graduated.
After observing the success of the programme’s first cohort in 2020, his company immediately expanded recruiting graduates from secondary institutions as commonly practised by technology firms overseas. These companies often found graduates from high schools a lot more receptive to taking instructions and learning from their mentors. This was also observed with Jamaican tertiary students. Thus, he has no regrets recruiting younger graduates.
Sparkes expressed his desire to make Jamaica an attractive place for young professionals as too many migrate for better opportunities. “So we thought, let us create a programme that would allow us to create the best environment for the graduates out of high school and university, train them and give them the necessary baseline to make them as marketable as possible while growing our engineer base,” he said.
His company also contributes to building a viable foundation for graduates as his firm pays for their industry certifications.
So far, nine students have received training from MS Tech Solutions. Currently, the company is in the process of recruiting 10 more interns for the programme’s third cohort. Sparkes added that they are hoping to train 50 to 60 interns over the next three years to provide support for both his and other companies.
Oshane Brown, a 24-year-old UTech graduate who is an intern in the programme, was beaming when he spoke about his experience. He enjoys pursuing his love for IT, especially in the supportive work environment of MS Tech Solutions. He explained that receiving nine industry and international certifications is a dream come true as this process normally takes years to complete.
He told The Sunday Gleaner, “Words cannot explain my experience because I am passionate about IT. These certifications are something that an IT person dreams of getting done. The time span in which an IT graduate, leaving university, would do these nine certifications would be four to five years. I am actually getting that done in one year.”
Oshane also expressed his joy in receiving practical experience through simulations. MS Tech Solutions not only pays for the learning platform that facilitates this, but it also covers the cost of the exam. Interns also receive training in soft skills that relate to business communication, business etiquette, and public speaking.
Initially, Oshane had fears about pursuing his dream career of being a network administrator given the immense responsibilities associated with this career. However, after receiving on-the-job experience with MS Tech Solutions, he is now more confident about the future.
Oshane declared, “After this training and certification, I am definitely sure I am ready!”