Digital apprentices - the impact on capgemini in the UK

At capgemini we have long been committed to nurturing young talent and a key part of that is offering a Digital Apprenticeship programme enabling young people to build both the academic and practical skills necessary for success in the tech sector, while also helping to create the talent needed to boost the UK’s digital economy - in this blog Ian Fairclough, Vice-President and Executive Sponsor for the capgemini Digital Apprenticeship programme, outlines the impact apprentices have had on the capgemini business in the UK.

I am proud to work for capgemini, an organisation that has developed such an advanced and successful Digital Apprenticeship programme that offers people an alternative learning and development pathway to a technology degree and a successful technology career. I am often asked what impact have apprentices had on our organisation, so much so that I thought it would be useful to give my perspective in this short blog on the impact of apprentices to our Application Development (software engineering) business, which is a particular focus area for our apprentice recruitment.

Firstly, do we really get apprentices doing productive and value-add work within a timeframe that makes this viable for us as a commercial business? The simple answer is yes! Our apprentices undertake an intensive, three-month training course, during which they are taught the basics of software development. Following that they are deployed into capgemini teams working on real delivery assignments. They work as members of large teams and receive support, coaching and mentoring from experienced colleagues, but they are undertaking “real work” in their own right, and successfully. Clearly, as time moves on and they progress through the five-year Degree Apprenticeship programme, experience grows and apprentices start to operate with more autonomy and with less support, to the extent that it is hard to distinguish apprentices from experienced hires.

But those 184 young people who are currently on capgemini’s Degree Apprenticeship programme have had a far greater impact on our organisation than simply by being additional productive resource. Here are a few of the advantages I have witnessed:

  1. In the main the apprentices are of an age whereby they are “digital natives” ... They have grown up with the new digital technologies and really understand how to use them - far more so than dinosaurs like me! This means they can help us push the boundaries for our clients, and show them more innovative ways of working with new technologies, social interactions supported by technology, etc.
  2. They have brought energy and enthusiasm into the business, coupled with a willingness to learn that is vital in such a fast-paced environment. This has been extremely refreshing.
  3. The brilliance of some of the performance of our apprentices has pushed our more experienced hires to greater things too! So the overall performance of our business unit, and quality of work produced, has improved.
  4. Our experienced hires have found it extremely rewarding to support, coach and mentor apprentices within the community, giving a new dimension to their job helping with retention in the experienced community.
  5. Our apprenticeship programme has contributed to a significant growth in our UK based headcount, which in turn has helped us respond to the digital revolution that demands co-location and close collaboration between our and our clients’ teams.

I am a strong advocate for Digital Apprentices having witnessed first-hand the success at capgemini and the extremely positive impact they have had on our business. Digital Apprenticeships provide a fantastic alternate entry route into a successful technology career, and also some excellent immediate term benefits for an organisation like capgemini. As I said, I am proud to work for an employer that has embraced Digital Apprenticeships so significantly.

Details of capgemini’s apprenticeships (including the Digital Apprenticeships programme)

Return to apprentice page

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Supporting the government’s ‘Digital by Default’ strategy we’re keen everyone has the skills and confidence to use IT. Here, we share thoughts on a variety of digital matters.

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