Successful IT skills scheme enters its second phase

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Successful IT skills scheme enters its second phase

A recent initiative by Randox and eight other companies in Northern Ireland to address local IT skills shortages has proved such a success that nine more companies are now being asked to come on board.

Randox and the eight other businesses (Specialist Joinery Group, FP McCann, Bloc Blinds, CDE Global, Mallon Technology, Acorn IT Solutions, Spatialest and SDC Trailers) all of whom invest heavily in IT, collaborated with Northern Regional College to launch Career Encode, an innovative Earn As You Learn Higher Level Apprenticeship in Computing for school leavers.

Over 85 school-leavers and individuals considering a career change applied, exceeding all expectations. Due to the high calibre of applicants a total of 10 apprenticeships have been offered and are due to begin as early as June 2019.

Camilla Long, Director of Bespoke Communications, which specialises in training and leadership development, is acting as an independent facilitator for the nine employers. She explained why more companies should embrace innovative approaches of this nature to plug the skills gap;

“Recruiting new staff, and in particular IT staff, is one of the major challenges facing businesses today. The companies who took part in the Career Encode pilot were finding it increasingly difficult to find the right skills in their local area. As a result, they decided to take steps to develop their own labour force via this innovative Earn as You Learn Higher-Level Apprenticeship in Computing.

“We had a phenomenal response to the launch of the initiative. Over 85 young people applied, and the calibre of the applicants was exceptionally high. The young people who were interviewed were interested, engaged, motivated and willing to learn. There is clearly a need for opportunities of this nature.”

Ms Long added;We are now looking for a further nine companies to join the second phase of the programme. If you are wondering why your business should join, the answer is simple. Career Encode will alleviate your technology staffing problems. It will allow you to grow your own skilled staff in a tight labour market, so you can develop employees with the skillset that you need.

“It will also further build your employer brand, so you can differentiate yourself and attract the very best candidates. We support you all the way, offering specialist workshops to help your team leaders mentor and manage your new apprentices. By working in collaboration with other like-minded companies you will be in a position to build a talent pipeline, so skill shortages are no longer an issue.”

Discussing the calibre of individuals that applied for the Career Encode apprenticeships, Jolene Carey, Randox Human Resources Officer, commented;

“Randox is a global provider of revolutionary medical diagnostics, and as such, IT underpins the delivery and support of all our mission-critical services. Our IT team are constantly exposed to the latest innovations and the Career Encode programme is an important part of our development plan for new talent.”

For further information about the Career Encode Programme please visit