IT services giant Accenture is donating nearly half a million pounds to a UK software development and data skills Bootcamp targeted at young people who are not in education.
Accenture’s £450,000 donation will enable the program organizers to fund the training element of apprenticeships, mainly at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) offered to Bootcamp graduates.
The free boot camp, Tech Talent Accelerator, is run by non-profit youth employability program Generation UK and education technology (edtech) startup Multiverse. It was created to support young people who face barriers to gaining employment. It is open to 18-24-year-olds without a university degree. The six-week program teaches coding, full-stack development, and web development and culminates in IT apprenticeships at employers.
Generation UK recruits candidates to the scheme, while Multiverse places those who graduate into apprenticeships with employers. One graduate of the Tech Talent Accelerator is 21-year-old Farana Jivan. While studying medicine overseas, she decided it was not her career and returned to the UK, where she started offering tutoring services.
While building a website to support her freelance tutoring business, she discovered an unexpected talent for IT. “I had to create a website to demonstrate my skills but didn’t want to pay someone to do it, so I learned basic website development skills. While I was learning, I thought, ‘I am not too bad at this.”
Jivan found she was picking things up quickly and decided to push herself. She was introduced to the Tech Talent Accelerator through a family friend, which she applied to join through Generation UK. After two entry exams, an online interview, and a small final exam, she was offered a place on a course, which she described as very intensive and suitable for people without an IT background.
As well as the tech training, the course helps participants understand the working life of tech professionals, said Jivan. This includes completing projects on their own and in groups. “This was great because when you apply for jobs or apprenticeships, employers want people that have completed projects. You can give employers these stories, and they like that,” she said.
Candida Mottershead, Accenture U
After completing the course, candidates are connected with employers for potential apprenticeships. Multiverse connects graduates with employers where their profiles and the employer’s requirements match.
“I have already got three applications for apprenticeships in progress, and I am in the final stage of one application for an online content developer apprenticeship,” said Jivan.
The training comprises about 20% of an apprenticeship and is delivered by training providers at a cost. The Accenture money will help Tech Talent Accelerator organizers pay for this.
“To find exceptional talent, every company must broaden its horizons and not simply focus on hiring from the same sources,” said Multiverse founder Euan Blair, the son of former prime minister Tony Blair.
He added that the funding from Accenture would help participants of the program start a range of apprenticeships in data and tech and would support small businesses and startups in finding apprentices.
Candida Mottershead, HR director at Accenture UK, said it was a challenging time for young people to navigate what is already an uncertain time at the beginning of their careers.
“When you pair this with the fact that the pandemic has exacerbated what was already a significant digital skills gap, we risk letting down and missing the potential of a talented generation,” she said. “As the demand for technology skills continues to grow, businesses must do all they can to empower young people with the skills they need to succeed in their career, which is why schemes like this are vital.”