In 2020 Infinity Works began a partnership with Generation, a charity supporting young people into careers that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Our partnership sprang from a conversation about creating a data engineering programme to help young, unemployed people in the UK and tackle the data engineering skills shortage, and it’s going from strength to strength.
Get with the programme!
Modelled initially on our internal Infinity Works Academy programme, we developed a tailored curriculum focused on data engineering to fit with Generation’s high-quality training content. We ran our first 12-week training programme for young people aged between 18 and 29 last summer. The investment of 12 weeks is important since it allows time to teach all the skills needed and for the cohort to then apply those skills to project work.
Building a strong talent pipeline
By training young people we’re not only giving them an opportunity to enter a fulfilling career, we’re also giving back to the tech community by fostering and nurturing talent for the wider technology industry. Training more young people with vital tech skills helps the whole ecosystem because those who complete the programme go into careers focused on data, a growing area of pretty much every industry. Of course, we’ve also successfully hired graduates from the programme ourselves – the number who’ve joined Infinity Works stands at seven and counting!
A perfect partnership
Generation prepares, places, and supports people into life-changing, meaningful careers. It works with a variety of industries to understand where there are skills gaps, using research to build up a picture of which industries have vacancies, and then connecting young people to them. The Generation team brings many skills to our partnership, not least networking with employers in the tech sector to find these young people jobs at the end of the programme.
They also market the courses and find young people to take part. They provide learning coaches who support the courses and make them more effective for each cohort. It’s a real partnership working in action, with the Infinity Works’ team providing the tech content, and Generation contributing the wider transferable skills around communication and employability.
Generation manages the overall operational side of the scheme and provides mentorship via The Prince’s Trust, while Infinity Works provides the technical instructors to deliver the courses. Those who are involved as instructors see it as a chance to engage with young people and give something back by passing on their knowledge and skills. The instructors are absolutely critical to the successful delivery of the programme and we’re encouraging as many people as possible to come forward and give it a shot.
The most quantifiable metric is, of course, the number of young people who get a job in the tech industry at the end of the programme. In total, 69 graduates from the programme have been placed into jobs so far – that’s 60% of everyone who started the programme. The ambition is to get everyone who goes through the course into employment. Sometimes there is a time lag on this though, and some of the young people decide that tech isn’t the career for them after all.
The satisfaction of those delivering the programme is important too, so we also measure success through feedback from our instructors and the Generation team. The work is often challenging, but ultimately extremely rewarding. Don’t just take it from me though. Infinity Works’ Stuart Forrest recently shared his own experiences as an instructor at Manchester’s Digital City Festival 2021. You can read his story here.
It’s great to know that Generation recognises the great partnership too…
Generation is very proud to be partnering with Infinity Works on our Data Engineering programme. The quality of the curriculum and the Infinity Works instruction have been recognised by both our staff and the next generation of data engineers. We’re very grateful to be able to partner with such a dedicated team of industry experts and look forward to charting the progress of our data engineering graduates and upcoming cohorts later this year."
Looking to the future
We’re excited to be in partnership with Generation for the coming year. We have a whole raft of programmes lined up for 2022 and I’d love to see the partnership continue beyond that. There’s potential for supporting multiple programmes in England and potentially broadening to other home nations too. Ultimately, we love helping young talent into data engineering and other tech roles. Through collaborating with Generation to find and grow tech talent, we’re helping inspire many young people into a career in tech: to Infinity Works, and beyond!