Apprenticeships in the technology industry would benefit jobseekers, organisations and the tech sector as a whole.
The tech industry has a well-known talent gap, and four-year degrees just won’t cut it when it comes to narrowing that gap.
Aside from upskilling professionals that are already in the industry, or hiring freelancers, the key to easing the skills shortage is to get qualified candidates into the workforce faster.
Bring on the tech apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships have been long thought of as entry-level jobs for those in craft industries, such as mechanical engineering and carpentry.
But, with the increasing stress on the tech sector, more apprenticeships are being created to narrow the talent gap faster than third-level education.
Earlier this year, Amazon signed an agreement with the department of labour in the US to create a registered apprenticeship programme to train veterans for tech jobs.
Through ApprenticeshipUSA, people can earn a salary while learning the skills needed for the job. Amazon is one of the only major tech companies to create a registered apprenticeship programme.
In the UK, an apprenticeship levy is due to be introduced in April 2017, which will create 3m apprenticeships by 2020. The levy will be funded by the largest UK employers, which have a payroll of more than £3m.
Solas is an education and training body in Ireland with a range of traditional craft apprenticeships. However, in the last year, it has developed new programmes that are leaning more towards the tech and pharma sectors, with more than 15 new apprenticeships planned for the next 12-18 months.
The training currently on offer is in areas such as polymer processing technology and industrial electrical engineering.
The benefits of tech apprenticeships
Aside from gaining a more diverse pool of candidates, employers can benefit massively by offering internships.
For a start, employers can seek candidates with the right soft skills and problem-solving abilities that will suit their company. They can then train them on the job with hard skills specific to the role.
They will also be creating IT professionals ready for the workforce faster than universities and institutes of technology. These candidates can work full-time for the company itself or they can move on with fresh industry experience, skills and connections.
According to The Tech Partnership in the UK, almost 90pc of employers reported that an apprentice helped improve their product or service.
The site also highlights tech apprenticeships across the UK, including those for technical support engineers, IT practitioners and web developers.
Businesses that offer tech apprenticeships will have an engaged, productive workforce committed to learning what that company has to offer, while the apprentices will gain invaluable, on-the-job experience from industry professionals.
These apprenticeships will also speed up the process of getting capable professionals into the tech industry, going a long way towards narrowing that dreaded talent gap.