Turn your IT investment into business value with the right provider

Turn your IT investment into business value with the right provider
Every job will soon be a tech job, according to a recent report from BT and Accenture.  But the report also warns that 75% of UK businesses are losing productivity due to the persistent gap in digital skills. 

The new apprenticeship standards are designed to close this gap. With the backing of Trailblazers such as BT, Cisco, IBM and Telefonica O2, the specifications now being rolled out are undisputedly employer-led. The aim is a simplified and adaptable learning programme that turns motivated young people into high-quality employees with relevant and up-to-date digital skills. Not just a checklist to meet a qualification; the standards focus on a range of abilities that have real value for employers in this time of rapid technological change.

That is the vision and, in fairness, it is still early days. At Sussex Skills Solutions, we recognise that employers may see standards as a mixed blessing. Some are understandably concerned about the time and cost of supervision that could divert staff from more valuable tasks - on top of the salary for a trainee who is scarcely contributing to the business. 

We believe the key to a positive outcome for everyone is the relationship between employer and training provider. A provider who appreciates the employer’s need for rapid return on investment should become a partner in the company’s skills strategy. Employers want to nurture a valuable employee; not deal with bureaucracy. An apprentice who is keen to learn should be contributing to the business within weeks not months. 

We track the progress of our apprentices with an eye to the employer’s priorities – whether productivity, retention, or revenue per employee. Our people have years of experience in IT and telecom and in the Sussex economy. We understand the impact of changing technology in retail, finance, healthcare, transportation, and public services. We draw on this knowledge to co-create relevant workplace projects that meet the requirements of the standard. In many cases, these structured activities are projects we use internally with our own IT apprentices. 

An apprentice on our Level 3 Infrastructure Technician programme gains a solid foundation in technology. But more than ‘speeds and feeds’, they develop those all-important soft skills to interact with different levels of staff, and the professionalism to be trusted with business-critical processes. They also explore the implications of business growth for IT.

The programme is designed for a young person with a knack for networks – typically a tech enthusiast looking for their first shot at work experience. Level 3 is also ideal for upskilling existing personnel – perhaps the unofficial IT ‘guru’ in the office who could consider a new career path. 

The openness of the standards encourages creative thinking. With the right provider relationship, the employer defines the outcome they want to achieve.

To discuss this further please contact us at Sussex Skills Solutions on 030 300 39474 or email employertraining@sussexdowns.ac.uk 

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