How Subah Khan went from being a fast food worker to software coding at EMIS in Leeds

A former fast food worker who discovered an unexpected passion for problem-solving and software coding has found his calling after joining a health tech firm.

Subah Khan

Subah Khan, 36, from Bradford, has joined Leeds-based EMIS Health as an apprentice junior developer.

The father of two has been tasked with coming up with solutions and codes that will help the business provide IT services to healthcare providers across the country.

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Mr Khan has worked at a burger chain, as a door-to-door salesman, an account manager and a recovery truck driver before ending up in technology.

He said: “After almost 20 years in the workplace I can finally say that I am excited to go into work every morning and look forward to what each day brings.

“When I finished school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and ended up doing all kinds of jobs. At that stage I just wanted to earn money, so I didn’t really care.

“But as I’ve got older, I’ve wanted to get into a career that I’m really passionate about.”

EMIS is looking to encourage more people to take up apprenticeships. Mr Khan applied for EMIS Health’s apprenticeship programme after seeing it advertised online. Prior to joining the business, Mr Khan had no experience in IT. He is one of 14 apprentices at EMIS Health.

Mr Khan said: “My wife has started talking about retraining too.

“There is so much opportunity out there. It’s unbelievable. I’ve struck lucky with EMIS Health. If there’s anyone who’s fed up with where they are at in their career, then I’d say it’s never too late.”

He added: “If it wasn’t for the apprenticeship programme, I wouldn’t have been able to retrain, and I’d still be doing the same jobs. EMIS Health really has given me a life-changing opportunity. They have taken a punt on me in an industry I knew nothing about, and I love it.”

Mr Khan, who is originally from Slough, left school after his GCSEs and started working at a fast food chain. After spending some time travelling, he returned to the UK where he worked as a door-to-door salesman.

He said: “The good thing for me was that they weren’t interested in my technical expertise, they wanted to know if I enjoy problem solving and what made me tick.

“The job challenges me and I feel really rewarded when it goes well.”

Jacqui Summons, group HR director, said apprentices are vital to the future of tech firms which continuously develop new software.

She said: “Nationally, apprentice numbers are falling despite the introduction of the levy and there continues to be a lack of understanding of the apprenticeship scheme.

“At EMIS Group, we are really embracing this way of attracting people from less traditional sources and allowing people like Subah to challenge themselves. In the process, they are to contribute significantly to our future success.”

Subah Khan applied for the role as a junior developer through Code Nation and trained for three months before joining the team at EMIS Health in Leeds.

The scheme, in partnership with Code Nation, was launched in April this year and currently supports 14 apprentice software developers, including four employees who have moved within the business. Apprentices spend 20 per cent of their time learning new skills and the rest based in the work environment.

EMIS Health is hoping to take on more apprentices in 2020. To find out more visit