Alumni hopes to inspire next generation

Chris Haslam
Chris Haslam

A FORMER student – who now runs a successful IT company – hopes to inspire the next generation of tech-savvy young people at Priestley College.

Chris Haslam, 36, now employs 19 people at Ixis in Brew House on Greenalls Avenue, but when he studied at Priestley the internet age was only just getting started.

“I wasn’t encouraged to take any IT subjects because I don’t think people predicted how much the industry would grow,” he said.

“It is incredible how much has changed in a relatively short space of time and it is great see that Priestley has evolved to reflect that.”

Chris returned to Priestley this month for the first time in 18 years and found a more high-tech campus than the one he left after completing his A-Levels in Physics, Chemistry and Maths.

He met Head of ICT Karen Geary and discussed the potential of working with Priestley’s current cohort and, in particular, explaining the benefit of ‘open source’ methods.

The former Penketh High School pupil is a strong advocate for this way of working, which allows experts to share information and discoveries with one another for the benefit of everyone.

Speaking after his meeting, Chris said he hoped to find time to mentor and possibly offer apprenticeships to students who complete their A-Levels and BTECs.

“In the past we’ve not been able to find the time for mentoring, but we want that to change,” he said.

“Young people bring new ideas and different ways of working that can be extremely exciting for everyone involved.”

Ixis was formed by Chris and Mike Carter who have been working in the industry for more than 10 years.

They specialise in Drupal services including website development, hosting and support and have clients in the UK, America, Europe and the Middle East.

Amongst them are the British Council, Epilepsy UK and Haringey Council.

Karen said she was excited about the prospect of a former student inspiring the next generation at Priestley College.

“It is a great opportunity for our students and hopefully one that will be mutually beneficial for Chris and his business,” she said.

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