Sandra Taraseviciute @ Caritas – Future LDN Apprentice of the Month

Sandra Taraseviciute @ Caritas – Future LDN Apprentice of the Month

I’m happy to announce that the winner of Future LDN Apprentice of the Month is Sandra Taraseviciute @ Caritas

LDN Apprenticeships highlights a clear message of what makes an AWESOME Apprentice; they must show energy, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, ability to take feedback and propensity to take action (EEWAP). Sandra’s nomination is below:

 

Energy: Sandra has this amazing, positive energy about her. She influences people around her with her positivity and willingness to help. She comes in the morning, gets stuck with her course work, and moves onto work without even anyone noticing. She is always the first one to help and do a bit of extra for consultants and candidates.

Enthusiasm: I have never seen Sandra not being enthusiastic at work place. She finds solutions to every problems she faces. I have heard her on the phone with some tricky candidates and only thanks to her enthusiasm and willingness to help she managed to obtain information, documents needed. This is a massive achievement and she should be so proud. She was a real star and dealt with stress and pressure like a PRO!

Willingness To Learn: Sandra has always been willing to learn more and more. She retains information really well. You only need to explain things once. She has also been doing her own research to check if she can find an answer herself, before asking. This is a very unique skill!

Ability To Take Feedback: Sandra takes feedback very well. I have not had issues with Sandra, so didn’t need to have any difficult chats. In terms of her work, any feedback is implemented straight away.

Propensity To Take Action: Sandra is extremely pro-active and is full of great ideas. She is now so experienced that I can assign a task, give her deadline and I am confident the deadline will be met and task will be completed to the highest standard.

Sandra has been an absolute pleasure working with! I wish everyone was so committed, honest and dedicated! She is a real asset and I can not wait to watch her grow in her new role!

I know she will absolutely smash it!

 

Congratulations, Sandra!

Toby Lagden @ Sphonic

Toby Lagden @ Sphonic

We have a number of awesome success stories here at LDN Apprenticeships and one of those is Toby Lagden at Sphonic, a tech company based a two-minute walk from Moorgate station in the heart of central London.

 

We popped in to see Toby and his line manager Michael Williams in their offices to talk about Toby’s great apprenticeship success story and how he’s getting on now after completing his apprenticeship and signing a full-time contract with Sphonic!

 

A total of 90% of our apprentices go onto further positive progression after they complete their apprenticeship with LDN Apprenticeships and Toby is part of that pool having now landed a full-time role. So why did he decide to apply for an apprenticeship?

“The reason I decided to do an apprenticeship in the first place was not only to get a qualification but also get some work and experience. I thought that would benefit me a lot more than it would just getting a qualification or vice versa.

 

I considered university but after weighing up the pros and cons, it felt like the pros didn’t heavily outweigh what I thought would be beneficial to me within my career.”

 

After Toby’s mind was made up, he attended our Career Kickstarter event which is where he met with the good people at Sphonic, including Michael, who explained how hiring an apprentice is part of the company’s growth plan.

 

 “We’re constantly expanding the business and we’ve grown significantly over the last six years.

 

It’s very difficult to recruit for what we’re after, so we felt we were better placed to hire an apprentice who could come in, understand our business in all areas and show us where they are strongest, so they can take on the position we’re after.”

 

Since starting at Sphonic, Toby has come on leaps and bounds not only within his digital skill set, but also his personal skills and especially his confidence, something Toby highlights as his biggest achievement since starting at Sphonic.

 

“I’d have to say my personal biggest achievement is the improvement in my confidence!

 

When I first started I had no self confidence and no real belief in what I did, so I was always second guessing. Now I’m at the point where I don’t have to second guess. I know what I’m doing is the right thing.”

 

Michael completely agreed when talking about Toby’s improvements since starting his apprenticeship.

 

“His confidence has grown significantly.

 

 

When he first joined he was quite shy and worried about speaking to anyone within the business. Now he’s very good. He’ll come and pester anyone he needs to if there’s some work he needs to complete!”

 

Toby’s reasoning behind starting an apprenticeship with LDN apprenticeships was so he could learn and gain experience in the workplace at the same time. So how has he transferred what he learnt out our Lansdowne Learning Centre into his role at Sphonic?

 

“Learning to balance the workload has been a beneficial learning curve. My work ethic has always been high but knowing how to take advantage of less busier periods within the work place is a huge part of what I’ve learnt. 

 

Don’t rush it, make sure it’s a good standard and if you haven’t got work, ask for some!”

 

Michael and the team at Sphonic have benefited massively from hiring Toby and has helped them save hours of time and money with the work they’ve given him and the tasks he has learnt.

 

Toby’s reasoning behind starting an apprenticeship with LDN apprenticeships was so he could learn and gain experience in the workplace at the same time. So how has he transferred what he learnt out our Lansdowne Learning Centre into his role at Sphonic?

 

“Learning to balance the workload has been a beneficial learning curve. My work ethic has always been high but knowing how to take advantage of less busier periods within the work place is a huge part of what I’ve learnt. 

  

Don’t rush it, make sure it’s a good standard and if you haven’t got work, ask for some!”

 

Michael and the team at Sphonic have benefited massively from hiring Toby and has helped them save hours of time and money with the work they’ve given him and the tasks he has learnt.

 

“Because we work with over 70 vendors within our business, that’s an awful lot of APIs and data. Understanding that data is key to our business and what we deliver to our clients.

 

What we did was provide Toby with the API documentation to strip the data out of it. From this his understanding grows and his subject matter knowledge grows as well.

 

With that he’s saved me a lot of time of having to extract the data myself and I could then focus more on the integrations with our clients.

 

That sort of skill set is expensive to hire directly. When you get someone who is as eager and willing to learn as Toby is it’s absolutely fantastic for the business.”

 

So after the success of his time as an apprentice, what would Toby say to anyone who’s thinking of doing an apprenticeship?

 

“I’d say go for it!

 

See what matches your skill set and your passion, then once you’ve found a career path, whether that’s IT or Web Development or one that fits for you, dedicate yourself to it and the reward is there for you at the end.”

 

Michael has had experience of hiring a few apprentices with LDN Apprenticeships now and has valuable knowledge and insight into what to expect when recruiting one.

 

The ability to harness new talent and tap into a pool of talent he wouldn’t be able to in other routes of recruitment have hugely benefited not only him as a manager, but the business as a whole.

 

“I’d definitely suggest to any business to hire an apprentice.

 

As long as you have the resources and ability to teach and train them like any new recruit. You know you’re going to get an endless amount of positivity back.

 

To begin with, they’re keen, eager and they’ll probably out do you in a lot of areas!

 

But with the ones we have hired, they always come back and give you ideas, which I think is fantastic!”

Toby and his awesome team at Sphonic are a brilliant example of how apprenticeships work for businesses and for young people. We’re thrilled to celebrate their success with this case study.

 

Congratulations Toby, and thank you to Michael for all of the support he has given to Toby.

If you’re thinking of HIRING an apprentice with us, click on the link below to discover more!

If you’re thinking of BECOMING an apprentice, click on the link below and find out how!

Why We Chose To Refresh Our Brand! LDN Group to LDN Apprenticeships

Why We Chose To Refresh Our Brand! LDN Group to LDN Apprenticeships

 

In case you haven’t heard, on 24 September, LDN Group will become LDN Apprenticeships! This is a big and exciting step for us and I thought it would be useful to share some of our thinking about why we’ve chosen to make this change. 

 

When I joined the company, one of the first things we set out to do was to understand how our brand looked to the outside world. Quite frankly, it was a bit of a mess. We had our main brand – LDN Group – and three sub-brands (Future LDN, Tech City Stars and Enterprise LDN).

 

In many cases, this meant that we had three or even four different social accounts with different followings, messages, content and relevance. We also had four websites targeting different customer segments – a maintenance nightmare!

 

It meant that we were unable to guide people to one place to find out everything they needed to know about what we do. It also felt like we had to explain what each of our sub-brands was there for and what we did as a company more generally. 

 

It wasn’t all bad though. We love the fact that the “LDN” in our name reflects our tireless commitment to making a difference to the lives of young Londoners and we didn’t want to lose this focus. 

 

So, after much deliberation and discussion with people in the business, customers and students, we settled on a very simple change to the company name. Becoming ‘LDN Apprenticeships’ makes what we do very clear to anyone who chooses to engage with us.

 

It does what it says on the tin. And by changing the name of our Tech City Stars programme to Tech LDN, we’ve not only done away with a somewhat dated term, we’ve also brought consistency to our sub-brands. 

 

Having settled on the name, it was on to the fun stuff – our new look and feel was a difficult process to get our heads around. We wanted to look young and fun enough to appeal to the awesome young people who are looking for apprenticeships with us, but at the same time, we needed to present a professional, almost corporate, image to our clients – the companies who take on apprentices. After several iterations, we settled on this logo: 

 

 

The arrow incorporated into the ‘LDN’ is moving forwards and upwards. This movement is a representation of the direction of travel of each of the apprentices we support. Similarly, it represents forward-thinking businesses who are committed to investing in the future and moving their business forward by embracing apprenticeships.  

 

Our apprentices help businesses to grow and become more diverse, inclusive and successful. And the apprentices themselves kickstart a career they’ll love. For us, the arrow represents all of the positive forward motion our work creates. 

 

The rebrand, in turn, has also given us an opportunity to build a completely new website. When it launches, the new site will be the best place to find out everything you need to know about LDN Apprenticeships, whether you’re a candidate or a business looking to hire an apprentice.  

 

So How Did We Go About It? 

 

Where did we start!? 

 

Once we realised we wanted to go ahead with the rebrand, we went to a Brand Workshop hosted by Michael Murdoch of The House at the British Library.  

 

We liked the workshop so much that we decided to get Michael and his team at The House to work with us on our rebrand! 

 

The first thing Michael asked us to do was complete a ‘Brand Health Check’ and ‘Creative Brief’. This got all of us on the same wavelength and helped Michael to learn more about what we do. In turn, this meant he was able to align his thinking with where we were heading as a brand.  

 

After a number of meetings and Skype sessions, we eventually got to a point where Michael and his team supplied us with three brand new logos.  

 

Each of these logos represented LDN Apprenticeships well but we liked the idea of the arrow in one of the designs, so we then went through another round of designs that incorporated the arrow.  

 

You can see below the gradual progression from the first design to our final design!   

As you can see, the biggest aspect that changed from the first round is the font used. We wanted to use a font that was slightly more professional, but also kept the upward curve of the arrow within the ‘LDN’. 

 

We had also realised a colour pallet we wanted to use as well. We were set on our main and primary colour being a strong blue and paired that with a much softer blue. 

 

Once we had our main colours, it was a matter of choosing what colours would complement them for our Future LDN, Tech LDN and Enterprise LDN sub brands. 

 

Again, we wanted these to be strong, distinctive colours as well as fitting in well with the blue colours we had already picked. 

 

Below you can see our final choices! 

It’s been really great to hear so many compliments from our clients, apprentices and partners about the new brand. 

 

This is a huge moment for LDN Apprenticeships and we’re very excited to start the next big chapter in our story.

 

We hope you like our new brand, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with our clients and apprentices as we continue to help AWESOME businesses find and develop AWESOME young employees.  

Ayodele Fashola @ Wazoku

Ayodele Fashola @ Wazoku

It’s a really important time for us here at LDN Apprenticeships. We’ve been delivering our Tech LDN (Formerly Tech City Stars) apprenticeship programme for almost five years, and our 150th  apprentice recently completed their Tech LDN apprenticeship.

The fact is that so many apprentices completed at a similar time that we thought it only fair to celebrate all of them together! 

One of the awesome apprentices we’re celebrating is Ayo Fashola who is a QA Tester at Wazoku, a software company based in central London.

Ayo recently completed her Web & Software Development apprenticeship with Tech LDN (formerly Tech City Stars), so we popped into the Wazoku offices, a stone’s throw away from London Bridge, to catch up with Ayo and her team to talk about her time at Wazoku and being an apprentice.

We started at the beginning as Ayo talked about her decision to take up an apprenticeship and the choices she had beforehand.

“When I started looking for an apprenticeship I knew I had no experience in IT whatsoever. I didn’t want to go to university and have no clue what I’m doing, so I chose an apprenticeship because it gave me the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time.

I had considered university, but I thought it might be a bit overwhelming to me and I’m a practical learner, so if I gave myself the opportunity to be in an environment where I had no choice but to learn, I would learn more.”

Having made the decision to do an apprenticeship, it was now all about getting hired!

Miguel Palomino is the Product Manager and Rosemarie Diegnan is the Chief Strategy and Product Officer at Wazoku; both of whom work directly with Ayo within her role at the company. 

Rosemarie has hired a few apprentices from LDN Apprenticeships and Ayo was someone who stood out straight away when she was interviewed.

“She just seemed really excited about being part of the QA team and seemed to be something she really wanted to do. So I liked her enthusiasm and her experience, so we hired her!

The best thing about hiring an apprentice is they’re enthusiastic because they’re at the start of their careers. They want to learn and they want to jump in. They want to have new opportunities and we are a small business and more than happy to have smart and ambitious individuals come in a get started.”

Miguel is Ayo’s line manager and works with her on a daily basis and mentioned how hiring apprentices is helping with the growth of Wazoku.

“We have the experiences of other apprentices before Ayo and we have had very successful experiences with other apprentices from LDN Apprentices.  

The company is growing, so we continued searching for QA’s through Tech LDN. They are always happy to learn and we are happy to have them within the business.”

Ready to jump in and get started, first Ayo had to get up to scratch and learn the ropes. Despite little knowledge within IT as well as being unfamiliar within an office environment, Ayo always had the support of her work colleagues.

“I had a lot of support, so it wasn’t like I was lost I didn’t know what to do.

Since day one I had my manager supporting me, I had other people on the team supporting me. So it wasn’t too difficult in that respect.”

The best thing I’ve learnt at Wazoku is working with others. I’ve always been an independent learner but working here has made me improve not only working independently but within a team as well.”

This help and support from her team reaped benefits and Ayo went on to explain her biggest achievement during her apprenticeship at Wazoku.

“I started working with SSO when I started and I was a bit lost. But since then, I managed to put together a document that is now used throughout the company and is also part of the onboarding process for any new starter who joins the company!”

It’s not just Ayo that has seen herself improve during her apprenticeship.

Rosemarie has seen her come on leaps and bounds, not only on a personal level, but her skills to do the role as well. 

“She’s become much more confident. She has learnt our product as well as the ability to test our product and find bugs.

She can stand up for hers elf if somebody says there isn’t a bug, which developers can sometimes do. She is willing to say ‘no, I can show you why this is a bug’. 

For most apprentices, this is their first real full-time job. So getting used to coming into work every day and being part of the team, I can see their confidence grow the more comfortable they are within the role.”

So after finishing her apprenticeship and now working at Wazoku full-time, what advice would Ayo give to anyone who’s thinking of starting an apprenticeship? 

“I’d say go for it! There’s no reason why you shouldn’t. You earn the money, you learn on the job and whilst it can be overwhelming at times, the overall end goals are completely worth it!”

Miguel was just as enthusiastic and passionate when talking about businesses taking on apprentices.

“Hiring an apprentice is a great opportunity for not only businesses but for young people as well. An apprentice will always bring a new point of view and it’s good to have a different sense of how other people work.”

Rosemarie agreed and having hired and worked with apprentices before, was in a unique position to provide insight into why hiring an apprentice is so beneficial to Wazoku and how other businesses can harness new talent through apprenticeships. 

“It’s an amazing opportunity for young people who want to get started and university isn’t necessarily the track they want to take. So hiring apprentices has given us a pool of really smart, interesting and exciting people.”

“In hiring an apprentice, it’s a great way to get new, young talent that’s looking to get started that’s intelligent and as capable as anyone coming out of uni.

They’ve just chosen a different path, so don’t be afraid of that.”

Ayo and her awesome team at Wazoku are a brilliant example of how apprenticeships work for business and for young people. We’re thrilled to celebrate their success with this case study.

Congratulations Ayo, and thank you to Miguel and Rosemarie for all of the support they’ve given to Ayo.  

If you’re thinking of HIRING an apprentice with us, click on the link below to discover more!

If you’re thinking of BECOMING an apprentice, click on the link below and find out how!

Truth or Convenient Narrative: There Is No Reason for the Tech Skills Shortage

Truth or Convenient Narrative: There Is No Reason for the Tech Skills Shortage

Why Apprentices Are ready To Fill The Tech Void

 

With the relentless rise of digital tech in the modern-day workplace, you’d be forgiven for thinking that employers were universally on top of their strategy for attracting, retaining and developing digital talent. 

 

If recent reports are to go by though, this is far from the truth. And it’s only getting worse! 

 

According to a skills shortage report published by the Edge Foundation, there are 600,000 tech jobs that companies just can’t fill. These vacancies are costing the UK economy £63 BILLION a year. 

 

What struck me most about this figure is the sheer scale of it! 600,000 vacancies don’t just appear overnight. These vacancies have been appearing (and going unfilled) in the UK’s technology ecosystem for years.

 

So why is there STILL a shortage Within The Tech Industry?  

 

There are two reasons.

 

Firstly, UK companies are obsessed with their productivity today. Don’t get me wrong, of course this is vital to business, but there seems to be a lack of focus on the medium term in many large or growing businesses. With Brexit on the horizon, it’s more important than ever for UK Plc to start hedging by investing in talent that will become the future workforce.

 

Secondly, there is an issue with the process. There is currently no scalable, trusted process which is widely adopted by companies to fast track young talent into positions where they are productive. University takes at least three years, and very few graduates are instantly productive. Schools certainly don’t produce huge numbers of highly productive, work-ready young people.  

 

Here at The London Group, we believe that one of the answers lies somewhere in the middle. What schools do produce is thousands of young people whose only limitation is that they do not have the network or the training they need to become productive workers, quickly.

 

These young people have bucket loads of energy and enthusiasm, but they fall at the first hurdle because too many employers are obsessed with an instant return.  

 

What Tech Skills Do Our Applicants Already Have?

 

Every day, The London group is inundated with young people looking to start a career within the tech industry.

 

Many of our apprentices are self-taught, learning skills which fall way outside of the school curriculum. This includes courses as varied Google Digital Garage, Microsoft’s Virtual Academy, Technet Virtual Labs, Udemy, Codecademy, Pluralsight, Salesforce Trailheads and even using good ol’ YouTube to investigate, learn and apply new skills. 

 

Furthermore, if you dig a little deeper, many of these same young people are running their own social channels. They’re building software and IT networks to solve problems in their daily lives, or producing incredible content to tell the story of something they’re passionate about.

 

How many of them would tell you about this on their CV… none, or at least very few. Worse still, how many of their CVs would even make it to the screen of your laptop? Fewer still. And how many would you give a job to? Well… you get the point. 

 

Why Apprenticeship Providers Can Bridge The Gap In Tech Shortages.

 

Apprenticeship providers are seeing a completely different side of the skills shortage spectrum. Not only are we able to tap into a talent pool of eager and enthusiastic young people (there are over a million of these in London alone), we’re also able to harness the huge potential of diverse groups, such as women and other minorities, who are looking to get into the tech industry.

 

Proof: Only 17% of UK IT specialists are female. Here at The London Group, we have a 50/50 gender split of apprentices. Almost TRIPLE that of industry standard. 

 

So, apprenticeship providers are uniquely positioned to support employers in their efforts to bridge the skills gap. We have applicants applying for tech apprenticeships DAILY from a variety of different backgrounds. Whilst we have experienced industry professionals who can help these young people to become truly productive workers, and quickly. And we have the support of a government backed apprenticeship system which funds everything we do!  

 

What we lack are the employers who are willing to look ahead to the not-too-distant future. Who take action, investing time and effort today to develop the talent and skills they require for tomorrow. If this does not happen, those 600,000 vacancies will only grow in number and in a year’s time we’ll be having the same conversation.  

 

In order to fill those 600,000 vacancies, employers must understand the world of work is changing. Digital is the new core skill for the modern economy. It is now critical that companies begin to address bridge the gap between talented young people those 600,000 vacancies begin to get filled. 

 

The talent is out there and apprenticeship providers are ready to help fill those roles within the tech industry.