Former Darlington College IT student Matthew Reale with Digital Allies managing director Steven Parker

AN IT graduate has helped redevelop his old college website to meet the needs of a new generation of student.

Former student Matthew Reale has completed a four-month project working on a new 21st century integrated website for Darlington College, launched this month.

The 19-year-old junior web developer for Houghton-le-Spring-based digital marketing company Digital Allies completed his level 3 extended diploma in IT at the college after leaving school.

“It has been so exciting to work on the new website for Darlington College, especially as I was a former student there,” said Matthew, of Darlington.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left secondary school but I knew it was going to be something in IT.

“I looked at other learning providers but Darlington College offered me the best opportunity to learn in a real hands-on environment, where all the teaching wasn’t just from a text book. It also had really impressive facilities with SISCO hardware systems which enabled me to achieve my CCNA in routing and switching.

“It’s great to be able to help other students navigate their learning at the college through the new website and I’m really pleased with how the final product has turned out.”

The new site, created with a complex integration for environment system by ProSoloution, will allow the college to streamline enrolment processes for new intakes by capturing and storing student information and simplifying course searches with up to the minute information, materials and changes.

It will also allow tutors to showcase student artwork and videos, recognise misspelt words within its search function and run a responsive ticker tape alerting students and staff to news, emergencies and incidents.

Managing director of Digital Allies Steven Parker said: “We have been working with the college for the past 18 months on their Facebook marketing, which has been incredibly successful, and were delighted when they awarded us the contract to develop their new website, which now has a much more progressive look, feel and functionality to it.

“As a company it is important to us to have a creative working environment where everyone can grow. A junior developer like Matthew would normally have been given smaller projects to complete but we had the trust and confidence in him that he would do a great job with the Darlington College website and, under the guidance and support of the whole team, that is exactly what he’s done.

“In a development sense, as an employer, it is great to get someone with hands-on experience who we can nurture and support. We will continue to move forwards with Matthew helping to stimulate and motivate him and to push his own boundaries of knowledge and extend them within the industry.”

Darlington College Marketing and Engagement Manager, Claire Turner said: “Giving the project to an alumni reflects the faith the college puts in its former students and the quality of Matthew’s work has certainly vindicated that trust.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.

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