SolarWinds unveils Software Development Apprenticeship Program to tackle IT skills gap

Apprentices will have the chance to work alongside industry professionals

A group of students from a wide range of backgrounds taking up digital skills

SolarWinds MSP has launched its Software Development Apprenticeship Program in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University, as the company looks to address the apparent skills gap in the IT industry.

Starting this academic year, the initiative will see two apprentices earn an Honours degree through a combination of part-time study and hands-on experience in the development of both new and existing software.

Working alongside industry professionals, the recruits will earn a salary as they work towards a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science.

"There are many benefits to hiring apprentices alongside graduatesapprentices are really eager to get practical experience," said Rob Young, senior director of engineering and head of the UK Leadership Team at SolarWinds MSP. "What they may lack in knowledge, they make up in enthusiasm, just as important for any employee.

"Modern apprenticeship, done right, is a great alternative for those who are after real-world experience, and means that we don't miss out on talented individuals who are not yet in the active workforce."

The first two recruits to the scheme, Andrew and Jude - both 18 years old - have been selected from an initial pool of 80 applicants - of which 12 then attended an escape-room-style assessment day that tested teamwork and problem-solving skills.

"I had an assessment day at another company and it was a lot of online tests and standard interviews," said Andrew. "The day at SolarWinds MSP was more laid back and enjoyable - a good way for me to see that I was a good fit for the company's culture."

As part of the course, the recruits will take an active role in real-world projects for four days of the week, while also attending university during the remaining day.

"I'm looking forward to the practical side of the apprenticeship," said Jude. "Doing an apprenticeship is an opportunity to learn skills and gain real experience within a job and not be forced to sit in a classroom being taught things I might never use."

SolarWinds MSP hopes its pro-active initiative will help begin to tackle the IT skills issue that has proved a challenge for the industry for some time.

"The whole industry needs to address the skills gap, and we are proud to play an active role in helping to do so," said SolarWinds MSP senior vice president John Pagliuca. "If businesses want to recruit from a pool of excellent candidates, they need to be a part of creating that pool this is exactly what our apprenticeship program does."

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