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Safeguarding the future of IT through graduate talent

Safeguarding the future of IT through graduate talent

June 10, 2013

Now more than ever it is critical that today’s graduates gain all the employability support they need to reach their full potential and become the much-needed future talent in the technology industry.

As the skills gap deepens for experienced technology professionals, particularly in the software development field, companies need to make the investment in offering graduate, trainee or apprenticeship schemes that offer the best support to individuals looking to embark in a career in technology.

Head Resourcing was a proud sponsor of ‘The Graduate’ competition that took place in Leeds this week, organised by the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. This event was aimed at IT graduates and undergraduate students from across the UK, offering the opportunity for soon-to-be job seekers to go through a mock assessment day panelled by prominent names in the market, including Deloitte, Cap Gemini, Yorkshire Water and Microsoft. While candidates were competing for a range of prizes, every entrant benefited from the experience itself and will receive detailed feedback following the competition, equipping them with relevant knowledge and skills for when they go through real-life assessment centres with potential future employers.

Chris Cahill, Chair for BCS, The Graduate said: “A number of years ago the West Yorkshire Branch of The BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, became aware of a disturbing trend amongst IT graduate employers. The employers were reporting that candidates they were assessing lacked the required depth and breadth of soft skills and were therefore being unsuccessful in gaining the graduate roles available to them. It was clear that we needed to do something to help, and so we created The Graduate to help to tackle the problem.”

Nick Middleton, manager at Head Resourcing’s North office, said: “Recognising the growing challenges that the skills shortage has been causing the IT industry over the last couple of years, I had been keen to see what we could do to enhance the employability of graduates. When I was invited to be a member of the panel for BCS’s The Graduate in 2012 I therefore jumped at the chance as I felt it’s core focus fitted with this agenda. Similarly, when this year’s event was being organised we were really pleased to have additionally gained the opportunity to become a key prize sponsor.”

“As IT and business change recruitment specialists, our clients typically approach us to hire at more experienced levels. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taking some sort of responsibility to support people who don’t yet have this experience, particularly if we want the sectors we are passionate about to continue to thrive and grow in the future. We love to see clients investing in graduate-level recruitment, as we feel it’s an aspect of recruitment that has been dampened significantly during the recession – although thankfully it seems to be on the increase again.

One of Head Resourcing’s clients – and fellow panellist at The Graduate – Leeds-based software services organisation Bluesmith Information Systems has developed a 12-month graduate induction and training programme that is essential in helping them hire at a graduate level and, in turn, build their business.

Mike Weightman, Co-founder and Director at Bluesmith said: “With the current shortage of senior software development skills in the UK, recruiting into our Graduate Programme is one of the most vital aspects of building Bluesmith and a major investment in our future. Put simply, it is our primary and most effective means of growing. We’re taking on raw talent and producing world-class professionals who will be the future leaders in our business, and potentially in software development in the UK.”

BJSS, another major provider of IT solutions and panellist at The Graduate, has also continued to grow its graduate programme, knowing it is critical to both the industry they work in and the future success of their own organisation.

Chris Moran, Head of Test at BJSS commented: “BJSS prides itself on recruiting the highest calibre employees and maintaining its position as leading edge technologists. It has achieved great success in recruiting graduates who have gone on to become valuable assets to the business, bringing with them a passion for learning and a desire to achieve. Investing in the next generation of graduates through programmes such as this can only bring benefits to BJSS and to the IT industry as a whole, and it is rewarding to know that we can help these people.”

“More companies need to join this effort to help ensure that the UK remains a key nation in the global technology world,” added Nick. “We all need to take responsibility for investing the time, money and support to ensure that the flow of people entering the technology profession continues to increase. The next step is to identify people in other areas who may not be IT graduates, but have the natural aptitude and motivation to be successful technology professionals. Offering other development channels and support, including cross-training, will hopefully bring in strong, talented people with transferable skills into the sector.”

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