Technology is changing and evolving in leaps and bounds, however real change is not only about tech, writes Johanna Hamilton AMBCS - digital transformation is about people.

In our previous article Developing people, supporting transformation, we explored the need for people-centric digital transformation. In this article, we look at how it’s not just the technology that’s changing, it’s the workforce demographic. As Baby Boomers (1946-64) come to the end of their working lives, Generation X (1965-80), Millennials (1981-95) and Generation Z (1996-05) are taking their place. However, the different demographics have very different motivations.

While Baby Boomers sought structure and a ‘job for life’, Generation X is characterised more by financial security. Millennials are driven by autonomy within the workplace, while Generation Z is much more in favour of a global workplace with flexible hours. Younger team members have also grown up with tech and are part of the consumerisation of digital, using it for social media, messaging and life planning - which have all helped to drive tech in business use.

Create a motivated team

Recognising this people-centric need for tech is only part of understanding and creating an efficient and engaged team. Employees also need to feel respected for their contribution and recognised for the knowledge and value they bring to an organisation. One way to keep and motivate staff is through a programme of continued learning; offering people the opportunity to add to their qualifications, join a register such as RITTech, or to see how their skills are transferable to other related roles through the SFIAplus framework.

While professionals can seek certification to connect with and enjoy the recognition of their peers and across the industry, there is another route that covers entry level school leavers, through to job-changers and those working towards degrees and postgrad qualifications: apprenticeships.

Unlock potential with apprenticeships

Large companies can use their apprenticeship levy to either upskill or nurture new talent within a dynamic team. Entry level apprentices also have the advantage of being a cost-effective way of developing the workforce; time and again, apprentices bring fresh new ideas, insight and inspiration to their organisations.

Apprenticeships have been proven to deliver far-reaching business benefits, including increased staff satisfaction and retention, as well as lower recruitment costs. According to a survey published by BCS in April 2019, 71% of levy paying employees saw a significant return on their investment. Around 74% of respondents to the BCS IT Leaders’ Report said they anticipated plugging skills gaps within their organisation with on-the-job-training.

It is increasingly clear that employers are happy to support apprenticeships, because they produce employees who fit real world demand and are able to face business challenges from day one: they haven’t just talked the talk, they’ve also walked the walk. Apprenticeships offer a viable alternative to more traditional education pathways, offering seven levels of development from entry level to postgraduate and everything in between.

As the chartered institute for IT, we have a dedicated membership base that helps us forge better relationships in industry, giving our purpose of ‘making IT good for society’ tangible results. To date, we have over 14,000 registered apprentices. Our position as an end point assessor, as well as the governing body for IT, makes us perfectly placed to support to employers in delivering job ready apprenticeships of all levels.

Support with CPD and certification

A programme of continual professional development (CPD) allows team members to flourish within their existing roles and helps individuals to excel. Companies can use CPD as a tool to plug existing skills gaps with motivated and engaged staff who want to further their careers, while also attracting new recruits looking for a company that supports and enriches their career journey.

BCS professional certifications have been developed to standardise the skills professionals need, with support in place to make it less daunting to take the all-important step up.

Our certification pathway follows four levels of expertise to cover everyone within an organisation. This includes:

  • Foundation - Introduces broad coverage of a subject as the basis for future progression, or as insight for practitioners from other areas.
  • Intermediate - Provides learning at a transitional level in preparation for specialised skills and knowledge at practitioner level.
  • Practitioner - Supports specialism, with a focus on how to excel and covers specific skills, tools and subject knowledge.
  • Higher level - Offers the uppermost levels of expertise within a subject field, tailored very specifically from management to board-level.

Provide recognition

Gaining qualifications is not the only way employees can achieve recognition with BCS; the credibility and commitment of teams can be demonstrated through professional registration, giving employees the recognition they deserve, without formal exams. All BCS registered professionals earn post nominal letters to confirm their status to employers, colleagues and customers.

RITTech: RITTech is a register of IT professionals of all levels, confirming the value they bring to the workplace. This registration is also available for professionals in medical and social care, through the Federation for Informatics Professionals and IEng registration from the Engineering Council.

Richard Atkinson, CIO of donation platform Just Giving, said: ‘It's very important for the progression of the IT industry that we embrace standards. If we don't, we will fail to earn the respect of our customers.’

CITP / CEng: More experienced team members can become chartered IT professionals (CITP) or chartered engineers (CEng). CITP is the independent standard of competence and professionalism in the technology industry. Taking the step to become a CITP shows that an exemplary level of expertise has been reached, whereas CEng demonstrates proven innovation, creativity and technical accountability in engineering technology solutions.

Both CITPs and CEngs actively drive up standards of professional competence, conduct and ethical practice in the industry, for the benefit of society.

The commitment of chartered professionals to BCS is mirrored in our championship of you and our industry. Our promise to our members, is to feed enthusiasm, support progression and celebrate achievements. All our professional registrations appear on a public register providing independent endorsement of the quality of your people.

To find out how you can actively encourage all members of your team through BCS membership and certification see how to get qualified.

Image credit: This is Engineering