Why taking on a Software Development Apprentice could be the right move for your tech company - whatever the future holds

Written on: 28 May 2020

Written by: Frances Hardcastle


[Software Development Apprenticeship, Coronavirus]

If the first quarter of 2020 has taught us anything, it's that we have no idea what the future holds. Few could have predicted the impact of the pandemic on our way of life and on the global economy. How things will progress in the coming months is yet to be determined, but whether your business moves to batten down the hatches or experiences a sudden uptick in demand, a software development apprentice might just be your secret weapon for weathering this storm.

What's happening in the tech sector?

There are a lot of mixed messages around how the tech industry will be affected by Coronavirus. While some job site data suggests a 31% fall in UK tech job vacancies in the first weeks of lockdown, the Financial Times reported that "tech companies are still hiring feverishly" to take advantage of our growing digital world, and APSCO described a shift in tech jobs from 15% of all vacancies to 35% since the lockdown kicked in.

What this mix of data means is unclear. In times of uncertainty, there may be a pause on upcoming digital projects while clients stabilise their company and re-work their business plans. However, tech companies are better prepared than most to adapt to remote working, and demand for digital products has certainly skyrocketed as other sectors pivot to the new normal.

We may see a boom in demand for software developers as the current crisis moves to accelerate existing trends, including the digital diversification of the retail and food delivery industries. For businesses operating from brick-and-mortar sites, investing in web development, apps and even in ambitious AR and VR projects could be key to survival amid extended social distancing measures.

So where could an apprentice fit into this?

Whether the tech industry is in for a boom or a blip, taking on a software development apprentice is a cost-effective decision that can offer both short-term and long-term advantages.

A Software Development Apprentice is not a software engineer, at least not right away. What they bring to a business in the short term is increased staff capacity at a very low cost. A learner on our Level 3 Software Development Technician programme can learn to build simple software components, implement code, and assist with testing, freeing up your senior developers' time for more challenging tasks. Within just a few short months, your apprentice will come into their own, adding new ideas, energy and value to your team.

The long-term advantages are even stronger. In the 18 months it takes for your apprentice to complete their programme, the economy will bounce back and you'll have an upskilled team ripe and ready to reap the benefits.

Tech companies relying on graduate recruitment may not have the advantage when this time comes. With some university campuses predicted to remain closed until September 2021, there are a lot of young people considering whether university is the right choice for them - which could lead to an even wider digital skills gap in the coming years. Already facing an uncertain jobs market, high tuition fees and debt, the prospect of also missing out on student life means that an increasing number of would-be undergrads are looking for alternatives.

Apprenticeship programmes offer a high quality, debt-free, career-oriented pathway for future tech leaders - and employers would be wise to snap them up now. Apprentices are loyal employees, often sticking with the organisation that has supported their growth and development.

If you'd like to know more about the software development training we offer, drop us a line or browse our programme pages.

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