Apprenticeships are an incredibly effective and increasingly popular route to employment in Tech for the individual and the employer, writes Rubitek’s Kerry Linley.
I’m CEO of a Tech firm that specialises in helping businesses in every sector take on and manage apprentices, and I employ an apprentice too. I see it from both sides, and I believe they should be a serious consideration for anyone, particular a woman, looking for a career in Tech, and any employer wanting to bring in new talent.
So, to make the case, here are my personal top six reasons why we Tech leaders should embrace apprenticeships.
The world of work is changing. More of us are having portfolio careers, talent is looking for greater flexibility and more modern work practices that include remote working. There is a greater demand to use AI and automation.
So we absolutely need an influx of fresh talent and new ideas to develop the Tech for this fast developing workplace. Frankly we need a youthful approach to keep up, and apprenticeships provide a tried and tested pipeline.
We need to attract more diverse talent in Tech so the technology more proportionately reflects the population it’s trying to solve problems for.
In my experience, customers want to know that you understand them and can empathise with the issues your technology will solve. This means a pool of Tech talent that represents all genders, ethnicities and background. Diversity and inclusivity simply breeds great innovation.
There is a gender imbalance in technology and it’s time we closed the gap. We are all familiar with statistics such as
This has to seriously change, and apprenticeships can provide opportunities otherwise unavailable to women, even in 2021, through the more academic, theoretical routes.
To rebalance at a senior level and get more women into leadership roles in Tech we need to let them progress through the ranks so there’s a balance in the boardroom in years to come. You are not stuck in a classroom competing with men. You are able to prove yourself and earn your stripes at the same time because there is a level playing field in apprenticeships.
You have a chance to enter an organisation and make a difference as opposed to proving yourself getting a top degree and then competing in interviews. For some organisations, there remains an inherent bias in the interview process.
In this context, I’m talking accessibility in terms of giving routes to employment for people from all backgrounds, including those from lower income families. With apprenticeships, you are earning while you’re learning. In my experience, this opens the doors to a career for those who simply couldn’t afford three years at university. This is another way to widen that talent pool.
It has been coined the fourth industrial revolution. If everything we do revolves around technology such as the internet of things, AI and automation, that means there is already a massive skills gap in Tech. This was illustrated by a survey before the pandemic. In a poll of more than 550 Tech professionals, the findings included
Apprenticeships are a cost effective way of filling skill gaps across sectors, which is why they should be central to the government’s employment strategy, in my opinion.
In any sector, apprenticeships make good business sense. They give a practical, real life opportunity that you don’t get at university, and after an apprenticeship, you will hit the ground running as a new entrant to the world of work.
According to one survey, 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them to develop skills relevant to their organisation, 78% or employers said they helped improve productivity and 74% said apprenticeships helped to improve the quality of the product.
To sum up, apprenticeships can play such an important role in the future of Tech. They bring fresh ideas and energy, widen the talent pool and enhance diversity, inclusivity and fairness across the sector.
Read more about the benefits of gender diversity in tech.