Opportunities to inspire the next generation of tech talent
The Infinity Works Academy, opened in 2016, is a centre of excellence for our company and the wider community. The main training programmes it currently offers are:
- A 12-week full-stack engineering course for new recruits starting a career in technology, including a strong focus on consultancy skills.
- A 12-week data engineering course which we run in partnership with Generation UK – a charity helping young, unemployed people start a career in tech.
- Custom programmes run on an ad-hoc basis for clients wishing to upskill or reskill some of their people.
Founded on inclusion
Nurturing talent and breaking down the barriers to a career in technology is the driving force behind the Academy. We know that great candidates don’t always come via the traditional channels, and to ensure diversity of thought and experience we need to have an inclusive hiring policy.
People don’t need computer science or degree-level qualifications in order to join Infinity Works. This means that anyone from any background has the opportunity to explore a career in technology.
This is a principle we have been able to extend by partnering with Generation UK to offer Academy courses externally. These are aimed at young people and career changers who are curious about working in tech but may have very little technical knowledge.
Training courses for clients are tailored to their needs. A major retailer, for instance, wanted to give store workers skills that would enable them to start new careers in the tech team. We ran a 16-week programme for 11 employees who have now successfully moved into their new technology roles.
For a client in the automobile industry Infinity Works has recently delivered a 12-week programme to reskill 12 employees so they could transition from the manufacturing roles to the data engineering team. This has allowed the company to meet the demand for tech talent from within. By offering career progression, valued employees are retained and the investment already made in the employee lifecycle is not lost.
Clement Pickering, Director of the Academy, explains, “All our Academy programmes help to extend the available talent pool and support social mobility in our communities. This is good for Infinity Works, our clients, and the industry as a whole.”
Growth in collaboration
The Academy’s programmes are taught by our own software engineers. They are able to share their in-depth knowledge and real-world experience, in an interactive and expert-led approach that learners find invaluable. The enthusiasm of our people to collaborate contributes to the Academy’s success and ensures that new recruits experience and develop the strong sense of teamwork that is core to our culture.
The Academy has played a central part in Infinity Works’ rapid growth. Clement explains: “It’s vital that we can transfer our skills to others, so our growth is not limited by the serious skills shortage in our industry. We would encourage other companies to widen their thinking about where to look for talent and who can acquire tech skills.”
Learning new skills while giving back
Although the Academy has some permanent staff, most instructor roles are filled by Infinity Works people. Instructors are chosen from internal candidates who apply and, if accepted, are seconded to the Academy – typically for about three months.
Instructors derive immense satisfaction from helping people learn and seeing them succeed. Delivering any one of our programmes offers our volunteers a way to develop new skills to excel as consultants and to serve our clients.
Rowan Gill volunteered because he wanted to try a more people-oriented role and to pass on his technical skills. Four years after going through the Academy, he’s now teaching there himself and admits, “I’ve absolutely loved it and don’t really want to leave.”
Mark Matthews, already an experienced mentor, became a full-time senior technical instructor at the Academy in 2020. “I’ve had a great deal of help from other people during my 30 years in tech,” he explains. “It’s great to now be in a position where I’m able to give something back.”
Instructors leave their secondment with:
- Improved listening and communications skills, including increased confidence in public speaking.
- The ability to understand how different people process information and to adapt their teaching methods accordingly.
- Better organisational capabilities.
- Greater self-knowledge and insights.
- Reinforced technical knowledge.
Lewis Richardson recently returned to consultancy after teaching a Generation UK course, and comments: “The things I learned while teaching I can apply to my job every day.” Most instructors have a similar experience, finding that teaching has enriched their work with clients.
For Kevin Mason it has given him a taste of teaching, a role he had always planned to do but not until later in his career. This interest in becoming a teacher led him to volunteer to run a 12-week training programme for a client, and he is glad he did. He’s extended his secondment and is now teaching as part of the Generation UK data engineering course. Not only is it giving him valuable experience for a future as a teacher, but it is delivering benefits that he will be able to apply when he returns to his consulting role, “teaching is the best way to solidify your knowledge.”
A bright future
As the Academy develops in line with our business needs, it will increasingly support different types of roles, and will soon be launching a new programme for product analysts. This will allow people interested in taking on non-coding roles in tech to start a career which could lead them into specialisms such as business analysis, agile delivery, or user research/user experience, among others.
The Academy will also continue to attract and upskill people from diverse backgrounds to make tech a more inclusive industry for everyone. Whether it’s someone wanting to change careers, a university graduate looking for their first role, or a young person facing barriers to employment, Infinity Works and Accenture are both deeply committed to helping more people start fulfilling careers in tech.