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tion, regardless of the subject, will help organisations identify candidates with potential, energy and team fit. “Individuals that start at the


furthest distance from what we perceive to be the right place are interestingly often the best can- didates. It’s about the individual and their motivation. You have to change your selection process to suit that,” says White.


SOUNDING A POSITIVE NOTE FOR THE TECH FUTURE The Economy Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said Scotland’s future workforce will be at the heart of rebuilding the economy follow- ing the pandemic. And nowhere is that more true


than in digital skills. Te Scottish tech sector con-


tinues to thrive with Gross Value Added per head for the tech sector 40 per cent higher than for the economy as a whole and the city of Edinburgh is second only to London as the most active tech community. But its contin- ued success is dependent on the development of new talent. A short-term focus on ready-


the moment. It is challenging to find individuals with software development or cloud services but on top of that technology is moving so fast that skills go out of date quickly. For Aggreko, apprenticeships


are an obvious way of dealing with this. “You need to think ahead when it comes to your talent strategy, reactively sourc- ing talent when the next project comes along is just not practical. Apprenticeships help us grow the tech skills we need, while increasing the depth of our talent pool for succession planning and role rotations.” Te skills benefit of a Modern


Apprenticeship is not limited to the individuals’ learning paths. Te presence of apprentices in an organisation also has a positive impact on the team around them.


It’s like a domino effect, encour- aging learning and development and an interest in new skills for other team members.


A MORE CREATIVE APPROACH TO TALENT ACQUISITION Apprentices don’t hit the ground running on day one and for some hiring managers that is a mental barrier that they need help to overcome. For Mike White, apprenticeship


manager, early careers, at NatWest Group, it’s about identifying the business benefits for each team. “Apprenticeships need to solve a problem. Tat might be retention in an area with a high turnover, or succession where there is a limited pipeline of young people in an existing team. You have to identify the levers for the hiring manager to make it work.”


Once that barrier is overcome,


resistors can become the biggest converts. “At the start, we didn’t see


the value of apprenticeships,” explains John McGuire, founder and managing director, at Pulsion Technology. “But they worked so well that we actually ended up taking on more apprentices. Hav- ing apprenticeships on board has allowed us to split up the work by role. Software developers aren’t always that keen on testing but apprentices see it as great work. Tis approach has been really successful for us.” When it comes to recruiting


apprentices, hiring managers need to think differently. Clearly selecting based on CVs and inter- view questions about the last five years’ experience isn’t relevant. But looking for passion and ambi-


made talent is not going to solve the digital skills gap. Apprentice- ships offer a strategic, long-term solution by building the digital skills every organisation requires but also allow employers to shape a workforce that is fit for them. Te final note of optimism


goes to founder of EVO Software Solutions, John Gilhooly. “We have been blown away by the quality of individuals we have met dur- ing the selection process. If these candidates are representative of the calibre of Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeships and output of our schools then we are in an ex- tremely good place as a tech nation for the future.”l


Jonathan Warner is Director of QA Ltd in Scotland. QA is the UK’s leading tech talent and training organisation.


FUTURESCOT | SPRING 2021 | 39


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