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Ben Ellison

Senior Vice President of Apprenticeships, Randstad UK

Apprenticeships in a wide range of technical skills could help plug a skills gap for businesses across the digital landscape.

Companies are increasingly using data and artificial intelligence (AI) in routine processes, but there are currently too few trained personnel to plug the skills gap. With thousands of IT job vacancies posted every month, experts suggest that digital apprenticeships to train or upskill people into these jobs offer a strong solution. 

Applying knowledge and improving digital skills

Digital apprenticeships offer a wide range of technical career options to help meet the growing skills demands within the business landscape, insists Ben Ellison, Senior Vice President of Apprenticeships at specialist recruitment and training company Randstad. The Randstad Group in the UK delivers apprenticeships in various digital specialities, ranging from data analytics to software development, first-line IT support and cloud engineering — covering a broad spectrum across the digital and technology space. 

While the programmes vary and are based on individual curriculums, they incorporate training, e-learning, one-to-one coaching, along with written assignments and case studies that demonstrate how apprentices have applied the knowledge they have learned within their workplace.

Modern apprenticeships can cover all age groups, with starting salaries as high as £20,000–£30,000.

Upskilling employees for in-house operations

How apprenticeships can help UK businesses prepare for the AI revolution Ellison explains that as the use of data and AI grows significantly within the business environment, companies are increasingly finding they need data analysts and software developers in-house to create their own analytics and websites. 

“That increasing tech means they have a far greater need for IT support,” he adds. “But businesses either do not have the existing talent or there is not an abundance of talent in the market. That scarcity of talent means businesses need to grow their own talent for future years. 

“They have also started to look at roles that may be displaced because of AI and data, and about how they can retain or upskill existing employees to future-proof their business and safeguard people’s jobs.” 

Full-time working while learning

Ellison says companies can work with training providers such as Randstad for early career and future-planning strategies as they recruit staff from schools, colleges and universities. Apprenticeships can also be used to upskill or reskill existing workers and those looking for a career change — or others finding their roles are being overtaken by AI and digital technology. 

He points out that modern apprenticeships can cover all age groups, with starting salaries as high as £20,000–£30,000. “It is a fantastic training programme funded by the Government’s apprenticeship scheme,” adds Ellison. Apprenticeships are undertaken during a candidate’s normal working hours, and all apprentices are typically employed on a full-time contract. 

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