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The first in a series of case studies highlighting some of the innovative approaches to tackling the digital talent and skills challenge, here’s Karen Marshall, giving an overview of the Accenture Apprenticeships project they’ve been running, including what’s worked, lessons to share, and what’s next.
For young people who think that they are ready to take on a real job with a salary, an apprenticeship with Accenture, one of the world’s leading technology services and management consulting companies could be the perfect start to a career in technology.
Accenture is committed to tackling the technology skills gap and broadening employment opportunities for young people in the UK and to support this belief, Accenture apprenticeships were pioneered by Bob Paton, and launched at our Newcastle Delivery Centre in 2012. Since then, the programme has grown and developed, and it has been so successful that it has been expanded to the company’s London, Warwick and Newbury offices, with a total of around 140 Accenture apprentices working with us across the UK.
Upon starting, our apprenticeship kicks off with an 8-week ‘boot camp’ to make sure that every one of our new recruits gets the technical and wider skills that they will need to ‘hit the ground running’ as they are phased into live project work, as soon as possible, to ensure that they start to develop the relevant skills quickly. Our apprentices not only complete their apprenticeship with a degree in software engineering and a wealth of professional qualifications, they have also developed sharp business acumen and a wealth of technological knowledge.
Accenture apprenticeships combine high-quality training and work, along with the opportunity of being offered a full-time job at the end of the programme. From day one, our apprentices earn a competitive salary whilst developing the skills needed to succeed in the digital sector, from digital, web and cloud computing skills, to growing their expertise in project management, application and infrastructure development and business analysis. Apprentices enjoy the same benefits as the rest of Accenture’s employees, including a 37.5 hour week (Monday to Friday), paid overtime, generous holiday allowance, three days paid charity leave, subsidised gym membership, hotel and travel discounts, local discounts and offers and a generous pension and private healthcare. All of our apprentices complete a degree in software engineering, whilst working alongside our professional staff to help gain the best on-the-job experience.
We work with two delivery partners, Sunderland University and Newcastle College’s Digital Skills Academy, to make sure that each of our apprentices can choose the study path that best suits their learning needs. Apprentices who choose to study at Newcastle College’s Digital Skills Academy gain a degree awarded by Teesside University.
Apprentices can complete a Level 3 qualification at Newcastle College before progressing to their undergraduate studies. Learning styles and levels of support are adapted to suit each of our apprentices, and we work closely with our training partners, making sure that all of the training delivered reflects the skills we need, and that new developments in technology are reflected in all of our apprentices’ programmes of study. Dedicated tutors support all of their academic achievements.
At work, each apprentice not only has their line manager for support, they are assigned a buddy, a career counsellor and there is a dedicated in-house trainer available to provide support alongside the Apprentice Lead to make sure that there is always someone to talk to about work or anything else that they may need advice and support for.
We have strong community and education connections, so our apprentices are encouraged to participate in a wide range of outreach and engagement activities with people of all ages, from all backgrounds, travelling to all parts of the region, including one of our biggest annual events – Girls In STEM
While technical skills are not a prerequisite, we look for people with potential and enthusiasm. Our successful applicants demonstrate that they are ready for the world of work alongside a passion for IT and technology. They have great communication skills and a ‘can do’ attitude. Working in a challenging environment and studying for a degree part time is no mean feat, so there are occasions when our apprentices are prepared to put their personal time aside to concentrate on their studies.
The growth in Accenture’s apprentices’ personal development and self-confidence is second to none, and during their apprenticeship they will form many long-lasting relationships. After completing their apprenticeship, they will become part of Accenture’s successful Graduate Scheme, receiving a sharp uplift in salary and look forward to a new and exciting learning journey. For anyone looking for a spectrum of opportunities and experiences that can build a multitude of skills, we think Accenture is the place to be.
For more information on this project you can contact Karen Marshall, Apprentice, Education and Engagement Lead at Accenture by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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