Women switched on to tech apprenticeships encouraged to go Forrit
Tech firm Forrit is maximising value from apprenticeships to grow a diverse workforce – from helping women to break down barriers to reskilling armed forces veterans.
With an apprenticeship programme launched in 2015, a year after the company was founded, software specialist Forrit has since employed 14 Modern and Graduate Apprentices.
Apprentices now make up 15 percent of the company’s Edinburgh workforce, with a focus on diversity which has earned Forrit a place as finalist in the SME Employer of the Year – Promoting Diversity category of this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.
We believe that when you invest in people, you are much more likely to get a return in the shape of a high degree of loyalty.
Forrit Business Operations Director
Forrit Business Operations Director Alexandra Walker said: “Around one in six of Forrit’s employees have gone or are going through the apprenticeship; something the business is particularly proud of.
“The role of each apprentice is varied – working across service delivery, quality assurance and cyber security. Several apprentices have gone on to be promoted within the company.
“We believe that when you invest in people, you are much more likely to get a return in the shape of a high degree of loyalty.”
Alexandra added: “Women are very important in the tech space, as there remains a real lack of female developers. Our female apprentices are always fantastic ambassadors, sharing their stories with students, parents and teachers to show that there is more than one route which can be taken – you don’t need to go straight to university from school. We have a complete mix of apprentices which is how it should be because we all benefit from diversity.”
Forrit Delivery Team Lead and former Graduate Apprentice Monica Richardson added: “I always believed that to become a developer I needed to go to university full-time. I have since learned that’s not true. Forrit’s Graduate Apprenticeship meant that I could learn four days a week on the job and spend one day applying this learning in class. I was embedded into client work and surrounded by experienced professionals who could help me in my learning. Working at Forrit, I get to work with people who have come into IT from a variety of backgrounds. My key learning? There is no “right path” into development.”
Apprenticeships are fundamental to how we work and key to Forrit’s long-term success. Employing apprentices not only trains up the next generation of talent, but the apprentices are also crucial to helping us benefit from the latest thinking and processes, strengthening our business and increasing the support we provide to our customers.
Forrit Business Operations Director
Over 12,000 employers support Scottish Apprenticeships, which are work-based learning opportunities or jobs with industry-recognised qualifications. Designed with employers for employers, Scottish Apprenticeships are demand-led and responsive to regional skills needs.
Alexandra continued: “We have female apprentices, people who were in full-time education but preferred the apprenticeship model of blended learning, we also have former members of the armed forces who are reskilling for the next stage of their career.
“One RAF veteran, who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq, had to re-engage with employment – he came to Forrit, completed a four-year Graduate Apprenticeship and walked away with a first-class honours in cyber security. It was perfect for him and we were able help him just as he helped us, bringing lots of soft skills such as outstanding leadership.
“Apprenticeships are fundamental to how we work and key to Forrit’s long-term success. Employing apprentices not only trains up the next generation of talent, but the apprentices are also crucial to helping us benefit from the latest thinking and processes, strengthening our business and increasing the support we provide to our customers.”
Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2022
The winner of the SME Employer of the Year – Promoting Diversity category will be revealed at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, which is organised by Skills Development Scotland and set to take place during Scottish Apprenticeship Week from 7-11 March.
Find out more about the award finalists and the event by visiting www.apprenticeships.scot/awards