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The rise of tech apprenticeships: A pathway to bridge the digital skills gap and level up the workforce

By Cia Kouparitsas 
Published: October 3, 2023
READ TIME: 3 minutes
In a world where technology is evolving at breakneck speed, staying ahead of the curve isn't just a competitive advantage – it's a necessity. Yet many organisations are still hamstrung by not having access to the digital capabilities they require.

At the same time, there's a growing call for greater diversity and equality in the tech industry, with most organisations eagerly seeking out ways to be a more socially responsible employer.

Tech apprenticeships have emerged as a compelling solution for introducing new tech talent into the market to not only address capability gaps, but also diversify workforces. When run properly, tech apprenticeships can be truly transformative for an organisation; empowering individuals to forge successful careers and propel organisations forward through practical experience, innovation and a commitment to continuous learning.

Tech apprenticeships are a model we’ve been running at WithYouWithMe for the past seven years, with our Potential platform growing to become a world-leading framework for finding, training, deploying and managing tech apprentices. And it’s a model I’m a fierce advocate for, as I believe skills-led employment is the future of the tech industry.

Why are tech apprenticeships growing in popularity?

The digital revolution is in full swing, and its appetite for skilled tech talent seems insatiable. Companies of all sizes and industries require professionals who can harness the power of data, artificial intelligence, and emerging technologies to drive innovation and competitiveness. However, a critical shortage of digital skills is stunting growth and limiting progress. Traditional hiring models can't keep up with the pace of change, leaving organisations scrambling to find ‘qualified’ candidates to fill positions.

Simultaneously, the tech industry grapples with another pressing issue: a glaring lack of diversity and equality. For years, women, First Nations peoples, and other underrepresented groups have been sidelined in this booming sector. There's a growing acknowledgment that diverse teams lead to better innovation and more inclusive products. Companies are fast recognising that achieving diversity and equality in their workforce is not just the right thing to do; it's also the smart thing to do.

Why a tech apprentice may be the answer

Tech apprenticeships represent a viable pathway to bridge the digital skills gap and diversify the tech workforce. We’re all familiar with the traditional apprenticeship model – for example a builder or a plumber undergoing training while they receive practical work experience for an entry-level role. A tech apprenticeship is no different, providing individuals, often without traditional tech backgrounds, with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, learn in-demand skills and contribute meaningfully to their employers' success.

For too long, the tech sector has been operating under the misconception that a university degree or prior industry work experience is required for someone to step into a tech role. But the pace of change in the sector – plus the nature of the skills required – means that even those without experience can quickly train and gain the knowledge they need to be proficient in an entry-level role.

The impact of tech apprenticeships

Tech apprenticeships are transforming lives and the technology industry itself. They are creating pathways for underrepresented groups to enter and excel in tech careers. These programs are also redefining how organisations build their talent pipelines.

Some of the key reasons organisations are bringing tech apprentices on board include:

  • Access to fresh talent: Apprentices bring a new perspective and diverse experiences to the tech industry. They come from varied backgrounds and therefore bring diversity of experience and thought to their roles.
  • Filling skills gaps: Apprenticeships are tailored to address specific skill shortages within a company or industry. Apprentices upskill quickly to be across key technical requirements and rapidly deploy to continue learning on-the-job.
  • Promoting diversity: These programs actively contribute to a more diverse and inclusive tech workforce. Barriers to entry – such as a university degree, or prior experience – are removed, creating an opportunity for organisations to fill their skill requirements in a socially responsible way.

The rise of the tech apprentice represents a promising solution to the digital skills shortage while also championing diversity and equality. Programs like the GED Tech Apprenticeship Program serve as a beacon of inspiration, showcasing how innovation in talent development can reshape the tech industry for the better. By nurturing diverse talent through apprenticeships, we not only level up our workforces but also pave the way for a more inclusive and innovative digital future.

It's a transformative journey, and if your organisation is ready to embark on it, we invite you to explore the world-leading tech apprenticeship solutions offered by WithYouWithMe.

Interested in bringing tech apprentices into your workforce? Check out our comprehensive guide to building a meaningful tech apprenticeship program.

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