Four UTC Reading students are among the youngest in the UK to become Microsoft Technology Associates (MTA).

Sixth Form student Reece Puddleplatt and Year 10 students George Osborne, Oliver Wissett and Samkeliso Kimeinyi have become MTA's in seven areas including software development, Windows development, online security and C# programming.

The MTA programme is a professional qualification from Microsoft that is recognised worldwide. Individuals can build their knowledge and skills in specific areas of programming and can work towards upgrading from Microsoft Technology Associate to a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer in the specialism.

To gain each accreditation, students sit an online exam to test their knowledge and skills. The focus at UTC Reading is on independent learning, and students who choose to work towards becoming a MTA do so outside of their normal hours up to 10 hours per exam - learning from online resources and taking practice exams.

Samkeliso said: "MTA training links to what we're learning in class, but has given me a greater understanding of programming and how diverse the field is. My new knowledge was really useful when we developed an app during the Microsoft employer project; we ended up developing a much better app."

The students are all in agreement that to be able say they are a Microsoft Technology Associate is great for their CV.

Oliver said: "This will help us to stand out, particularly from university graduates as many won't have this. It shows that we have the real-world skills, as the MTA programme is used by many businesses. It's also a big thing to be able to add to a university application."