More Digital Apprentices essential to ensuring Britain’s growth

  • Tech Partnership analysis reveals the need for 134,000 new tech specialists in the UK every year
  • 2 in 5 companies seeking to recruit tech specialists say it is hard to fill vacancies
  • 85% of these cite skills shortages as the reason
  • Apprenticeships are vital to boosting recruitment and creating skilled employees

According to Experian analysis of ONS and Tech Partnership data, the UK currently requires 134,000 new tech specialists every year, with around half of these being in junior level roles. 1.3m people now work as tech specialists, an increase of 6% in 2014 alone. With 42% of companies in all sectors looking to recruit tech specialists already saying these vacancies are hard to fill, the search for talent is getting tougher.

In 2015, businesses report that they are twice as likely as before to offer a tech apprenticeship. Candidates are responding: the number of people applying for tech apprenticeships has doubled in the past three years. There are now 14 applicants for every tech apprenticeship vacancy advertised, compared with an average of 9 applicants for apprenticeship vacancies in general.

Speaking on behalf of the Tech Partnership, Margaret Sambell, Director of Strategy, says: “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.”

Damian Jacobs, Group IT Emerging Talent Manager from Lloyds Banking Group, speaks highly about his experience of apprentices: “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 – they are a real asset to our organisation. Through our working with Tech Partnership Lloyds Banking Group will have its first cohort in September this year studying for the Degree Apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions.”

Jenny Taylor, UK Graduate, Apprenticeship and Student Programme Manager at IBM, values the way apprenticeships allow the company to train to meet its needs: “We offer our apprentices a rigorous and rewarding programme that ensures they develop the right combination of skills, experience and contacts while thriving in a fast paced business environment. 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.”

Jon Hulme from an SME called The Craft Gin Club is an advocate of apprentices for smaller businesses: “I have been taking on two apprentices a year for the past 3 years and find they add value very quickly: I recruit foraptitude and attitude and in my experience apprentices gain skills fast and are keen to apply them in the business. I also find they bring enthusiasm and new ideas – I have been very pleased with the contribution they make.”

Margaret Sambell continues: “It’s vital that companies make use of the best and most effective methods to ensure a successful outcome for both employer and apprentice. Employers have been working together through the Tech Partnership to make it easier for companies to take on a tech apprentice with confidence. Companies including BT, Fujitsu, Google, Asda, IBM and Capgemini have pooled their experience to encourage the highest standards. If employers ask for a Tech Industry Gold training programme they can be assured its high quality, focus on early productivity, and the level of support they will get from their training provider.”

James Lawrence, Senior Talent Manager, Visa Europe, says: “Employers like Visa Europe want to be confident that the apprenticeship we deliver is of an outstanding quality. Where a training provider's programme has been accredited as Tech Industry Gold, we can have that confidence.”

Tech Industry Gold apprenticeships

Tech Industry Gold apprenticeships are programmes accredited by the Tech Partnership for their quality, focus on early productivity of apprentices, and the level of support businesses receive. With Tech Industry Gold apprenticeships, you can choose an apprentice with confidence and give young people a great start to their careers, knowing they are being trained up on all the latest technologies.

Through employer-designed course standards, and online development activities, Tech Industry Gold apprentices quickly gain the business, technical and interpersonal skills that are needed within the tech sector. At the same time, employers receive comprehensive support in sourcing and interviewing candidates, and best practice advice that helps save time and effort in bringing apprentices up-to-speed.

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