Why more employers should embrace digital apprenticeships

Analysis finds vocational training offers quick return on investment

It’s well known that skilled employees can give an organisation the edge over competitors and this is certainly true for the UK economy as a whole, particularly when it comes to technology skills.

But analysis from employer support group the Tech Partnership suggests that opportunities to gain this advantage are being missed by UK organisations.

Its research found that the UK needs 134,000 new digital specialists every year with about half of these being in junior level roles. However, two out of five recruiters said they struggle to fill these roles and 85 per cent of employers say the problem is down to skills shortages.

This mismatch between supply and demand shows no signs of abating as the analysis showed that there are now 1.3 million people in the UK who work as tech specialists, which is an increase of 6 per cent in 2014 alone.

As the competition for talent is expected to heat up further, the Tech Partnership has urged more employers to embrace tech apprenticeships as a value for money solution.

And the data shows that many employers have already recognised how vocational training can offer a competitive advantage in the battle for faster business growth. This year, businesses said that they are twice as likely to offer a tech apprenticeship than in previous years.

Candidates are responding to these opportunities with figures showing that the number of people applying for tech apprenticeships has doubled in the past three years, the Tech Partnership research showed. There are now 14 applicants for every tech apprenticeship vacancy advertised, compared with an average of nine applications for apprenticeship places in general.

Damian Jacobs, group IT emerging talent manager at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Through apprenticeships, we’ve been able to reach out to across our operations in the UK to get tech talent, and find people with tremendous ability and enthusiasm for their roles. Our apprentices bring a positive attitude and a determination to succeed and they are a real asset to our organisation. Through our work with Tech Partnership, we will have our first cohort studying for the Degree Apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions in September this year.”

Jenny Taylor, UK graduate, apprenticeship and student programme manager at IBM, said: “We are continually looking to develop and invest in future leaders and our apprenticeship programme is an important way for us to attract and develop high quality entrants who have future leadership potential.”

Margaret Sambell, director of strategy at the Tech Partnership, said: “Graduates have always been a source of new blood into tech careers. But in today’s fast moving environment, employers are also increasingly enthused by apprenticeships as a way to attract and develop new people – and are finding that a rich seam of talent. While more and more businesses are introducing apprenticeships, a concerted effort is required across all industries to meet demand, as well as to make sure these apprentices gain the skills they need to actively contribute to Britain’s digital future.”

Experian conducted the research on behalf of the Tech Partnership, examining and combining data from the Office for National Statistics and in-depth employer survey results.

Article courtesy of: PM Editorial

NowSkills’ New Partnership Aims to Tackle IT Skills Shortage

It has been widely reported that Greater Manchester as a whole is experiencing a worrying skills shortage in the IT and digital sectors which is hampering business growth in the region.

A new partnership between two of the North West’s leading Apprenticeship providers, NowSkills and Alliance Learning, aims to help fill this gap, by recruiting and training the IT professionals of the future and supporting Greater Manchester in its journey to becoming a leading digital city.

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Unlike many IT Apprenticeship providers, Alliance Learning and NowSkills guarantee that all apprentices will complete their training while employed within the IT department of a local business, ensuring they have ‘real’ industry experience and a ‘real’ future in IT.

Daniel Wells (pictured right), General Manager of NowSkills explains: “Our IT apprenticeships have been carefully designed to ensure young people receive the very best support, training and hands-on work experience. Our apprentices will be highly skilled and sought-after employees who will be able to go out and make waves in a thriving and well-paid IT industry.

“Businesses employing our apprentices will gain a highly-skilled member of staff: a young person who has grown up with technology, instinctively understands how it works and has the formal qualifications and experience to contribute to your business success.”

According to the Government’s shortage occupation list for the UK and Scotland, Software Professionals, IT Managers, IT Strategists and Marketing Managers are in high demand.

Kelly Perkin (pictured left), Operations & Quality Improvement Executive of Alliance Learning, explains: “The new partnership between Alliance Learning and NowSkills is incredibly exciting for everyone involved. Together we can now offer a highly specialised Apprenticeship programme which will deliver the skills that the region needs.

“On completing their Apprenticeship, our young people will be able to apply for roles such as Support Technician, Website Administrator, Web Developer, Social Media Manager and Network Engineer to name just a few.

“We’re looking forward to further strengthening our partnership working with NowSkills and watching our apprentices flourish and make a real impact in the digital landscape of Manchester.”