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Gaining technology experience at Oblong Tech

Oblong Tech is a design and web development services firm that was founded 10 years ago in South London. The company relocated to Hackney in 2012. Not long afterwards, Inspire! approached them to see if they could offer a work experience placement. “Although it’s not easy for us to take on a placement, being such a small firm – there are only five of us – we’ve always wanted to be involved with the local community – especially disadvantaged and young people,” says Director, Andrew Coles. Offering work placements “is interesting and it keeps us in tune with the aptitude level that can be achieved and who we might be able to hire in the future”.

Cayetano (Caye) Barba-Gamon, an IT student from BSix Sixth Form College, is the second student that Oblong Tech has hosted through Inspire!. He is presently in his first year studying for a BTEC Level 3 in IT. “I got a distinction and this allowed me to do a work placement,” Caye explains.

Andrew was very impressed with Caye’s commitment. “He came in the week before to meet us and introduce himself and, although his contracted hours were 10:00 am until 5:00 pm, he was regularly here at 9:00 am and often stayed after 5:00 pm to finish a piece of work”.

Caye did a variety of tasks, including building websites, and was both delighted and proud that he was doing what he calls “a proper job”. Asked what he enjoyed most, he says “learning the PHP (programming) language. Everything I have done here has been new to me. The only thing I don’t like is that I hate it when I can’t solve a problem”. Andrew chips in here: “That’s a good sign in an IT person. It means they will be driven to keep working at the problem until they find the answer. I’m sure that if Caye had more time with us, he would have achieved a great deal”.

With another year to go at college, Caye is undecided what he wants to do next. “I have to finish my course first, then maybe I’ll go to university. I don’t have to decide yet”.

Andrew provides the young man with the ultimate compliment: “If we were to offer an internship, we would offer it to someone like Caye”.