Generation UK, the not-for-profit organisation helping to empower young people facing barriers in employment to build thriving, sustainable careers in tech last year set up its Data Engineering Programme alongside Infinity Works to help young, unemployed people in the UK. The 12-week programme is designed to provide those passionate about tech with the expertise and experience needed to work in the industry, while also tackling the data engineering skills shortage in the UK.
Since the start of the programme last year, they have had a 91% graduation rate, with the first learners completing the course in November 2020.
With more people relying on tech as a result of the pandemic, there has been a real opportunity to train young people for the jobs of the future. The programme has provided real insight into the realities of a tech career and has worked as a pathway into a sustainable career in tech, find out more.
Challenging and life-changing
The programme has been life-changing for young people facing barriers to employment, particularly those from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the tech industry. Being able to receive first-hand data engineering training from experts has proven to be invaluable.
Aaron Collis was looking for a challenge and he found it, with the help of the fantastically supportive academic instructors. He said “It felt like they were putting 110% in all the time. They teach really well and are happy to slow it down to make sure no one gets left behind.” He sums up the course as “challenging, amazing and life-changing”. Today Aaron is an Associate Consultant at Infinity Works.
Since its launch, the programme has supported 171 learners like Aaron, across London, Manchester and Birmingham.
An opportunity for everyone
The programme attracts many young people who are struggling to find employment or are curious about tech but don’t have any relevant skills or experience.
Katie Holloway was interested in coding and found that government funding made the programme accessible for her at the time. Her verdict on the course was “fulfilling, full-on, rewarding and relevant.” She is now an Associate Consultant at Infinity Works.
Joann Egunjobi was working in marketing but lost her job during the pandemic. She was always interested in tech but thought a career in the industry was reserved for those with a computer science or technical background.
Like Joann, 85% of the learners were unemployed before starting the programme and the other 15% were underemployed.
Those on the course are from a truly diverse range of backgrounds, including 43% who received free school meals.
Generation prepares those on the course for life-changing, meaningful careers and provides mentorship via The Prince’s Trust, while Infinity Works delivers the technical side of the programme. It welcomes learners from diverse backgrounds, and to date, 33% of intake has been female and 72% from black and ethnic minorities.
Giving young people and employers want they want
The course is based on Generation’s research into the skills employers really need. It is designed to provide participants with those skills and to help them secure a job. Aaron describes the course as “not padded out with stuff you’re never going to use.”
Another participant, Samson Georgeston-Lettman, felt like he was already a data engineer halfway through. The programme gave him access to the resources and guidance he needed and led to him securing a position as a Junior Data Engineer at TUI.
The course provides a real insight into the realities of a career in tech. Samson describes his experience as “starting to build the fundamentals of that engineering mindset that I didn’t even know I had in me before the course. You understand the scope of the sector and how a data engineer thinks.”
Like Aaron, Katie, Joann and Samson, more than 70 graduates of the programme have been placed into tech industry roles so far, with an average starting salary in London of around £28k.
Does this sound like you?
If you are like Katie who is “really passionate about tech and likes solving problems” or Joann, unemployed and curious about tech, then the 12-week programme might be for you.
Thanks to her decision to give tech a go, Joann is now working as a Junior Data Engineer at Currencycloud, a fintech of around 400 people in London. Her advice: “You have to be 100% committed… but it’s really, really worth it.”
And Samson’s advice to people thinking about applying is: “As long as you have that strong drive you’ll pick up all those skills.”
So, are you interested in tech? Do you want a fulfilling career in a growing and ever-changing industry? Do you have the drive and determination to become a data engineer? If the answer to all these questions is yes, this might just be the programme for you.
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