Paul Pickard, Level 3 BTEC Computing

Paul Pickard says his computing course has opened his eyes to new opportunities in the industry – giving him an unexpected career path.

The 18-year-old joined his Level 3 BTEC in computing at the IoT’s Burnley College site with aspirations to create video games.

But two years in, he’s discovered a passion for cybersecurity – and has since earned a coveted bursary for further study.

Paul, from Padiham, began the course after his GCSEs after a visit to the college to discuss his options. 

“I’d always wanted to do something computing related but never really had a chance to, but the tutors guided me to the BTEC and I’ve loved it,” he said. “The course has exceeded my expectations and really shown me how I can turn my interest into a job.”

The course covers everything from networking to cyber security and software development, taught in a range of styles. 

“I went onto the course with zero knowledge of computer science, and I actually wanted to be a game creator,” he says. “But once we covered cyber security, I realised that’s the one I want to do. 

"The cyber room is amazing, and it’s not just there for show – we use it a lot and it really shows us what we need to be part of a workforce.”

Next phase Paul is now assessing his options but intends to go onto a degree apprenticeship. He participated in an industry event and went on to successfully apply for a bursary for the next phase of his studies. He added: “Highlights for me have been having people from industry in to give us insight into what we could actually do with our qualifications. "If anyone was thinking about doing this course I’d say just go for it, try your best and try everything because there are so many different pathways you can choose.”

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