Acorn launches IT Bootcamps

Huw John

With digital, tech and IT skills shortages making headline news, one of the UK’s leading recruitment and training agencies, Acorn has set up an innovative programme of ‘bootcamps’ to help meet the demands of tech employers and address the shortages of  digital and IT skills.

The bootcamps are aimed at graduates from a range of disciplines and non-graduates with a passion for IT who lack experience or specific IT-related qualifications but have suitable transferable skills are keen to learn.

The six-week intensive courses have been developed and tailored in line with the requirements of employers working in the tech and digital arena and involve intensive training to get candidates to the level of Junior Software Developers and Testers by the end of the course.

There are a number of businesses looking to employ more and more skilled people, which are already signed up to Acorn’s IT Bootcamps. These employers have helped shape parts of the programme to the specifications of the vacancies they’re currently offering. Applications are welcomed from interested candidates, with those who succeed in the interview process being put forward to undertake the IT bootcamp and then onto a new full-time job.

Dave Sadler, Head of Acorn’s Digital & IT Recruitment Division, said: “It is estimated that Wales is only producing some 10% of the software engineering graduates it requires and hence why digital, tech and IT skills shortages continue to be a theme making the headlines.

“At Acorn we see this daily with a large number of employers approaching us to help them find people with the right digital and IT skills to support their growing businesses. And many employers also don’t have the time or resources to invest many months training into someone to bring their technical skill levels up to what they require today.

“The Welsh Government has been doing a great job of helping to attract new digital and tech businesses here to Wales but we really need to make sure we have the appropriate skilled workforce to enable these businesses to grow and to realise the potential of our local labour market.

“There is a danger that the skills shortages could stifle not just the IT industry but all industries, as good tech and IT skills are now fundamental to every sector. This is why at Acorn we are continuously looking at new and innovative ways to address the current shortage of such digital and IT related skills.

“I would say that the most important attribute for any applicants interested in our IT Bootcamps is drive. This is a great chance for graduates and non-graduates to get a foot in the door of a thriving industry and once qualified through the bootcamp, there will be career opportunities immediately will be available to them.”

Matthew Davies, Enterprise Architect at PHS Group said; “I am very enthused by this and applaud the leadership by Acorn in delivering change.

“When we’re next recruiting we’ll definitely be interested in using this and believe that candidates who’ve been put through the bootcamp will be suitable for our development team.”

The courses will be designed by John Holvey who has 30 years’ experience in the industry, works closely with the Alacrity Foundation and is in charge of commercial liaison at the Welsh Government’s Newport-based Software University.

The initial courses are Web Development-Java, Web, and Testing.

Each course will be formatted similarly with students working on their own initially but quickly progressing to working in teams, with assessments taking place at the end of each module to ensure that everyone is on target.

John said: “With the right training I am confident that we can give candidates the basic knowledge that they will need to succeed in a digital and IT role. The courses are structured around a ‘learning by doing’ ethos; ensuring that students learn by building and deploying real-world applications.

“While this isn’t necessary a long-term solution, it is a quick and efficient way of upskilling the workforces in the short-term to meet the immediate needs of a number of employers desperately looking for skilled candidates.”

Once they have started work, students will return for two ‘refresher’ weeks within the first six months to guarantee that they consolidate their learning and have the opportunity to revisit previous problems encountered in the work place under the guidance of dedicated training support.

Acorn is aiming to introduce security and networking to their course calendar following the delivery of the initial courses.