FDM Group to build diverse tech talent via university partnerships

The apprenticeship programme will offer candidates vocational and degree based learning

A FTSE 250 firm will upskill underrepresented talent via on-the-job training and the chance to gain university qualifications in STEM, boosting diversity in tech and the UK’s levelling up agenda.

Professional services provider FDM Group’s new apprenticeship scheme will operate with an equal gender split and include candidates from other underrepresented backgrounds too.

FDM Group’s new apprenticeship scheme

New starts will receive vocational training in IT roles alongside studying towards a level 6 (Bachelor of Science Degree) Digital and Technology Professional apprenticeship. After the initial training, candidates can specialise in areas including IT consultancy, software engineering, cyber security, and data science.

FDM’s partner Sheffield Hallam University is the first university on their inaugural apprenticeship programme, but more agreements with other UK universities are set to follow in the coming weeks.

The Sheffield Hallam course starts with a 12-week block at the university. During the on-campus part of the study, apprentices receive full salary and FDM subsidises their accommodation in Sheffield.

Each university that partners with FDM will offer a combination of on-campus and remote learning with 20% of the apprentices’ time at work dedicated to university study, according to a government mandate.

FDM’s efforts support the UK’s levelling up agenda, which seeks to offer more equal access to economic and skills-based opportunities across the country, with the Government offering more funding for work placements and training for 16 to 24-year-olds in England.

FDM’s apprenticeship scheme is also diversifying the tech workforce by bringing more women and other underrepresented groups into the sector who offer a diversity of perspectives and experiences that will aid in business innovation in their future places of employment.

Rod Flavell, CEO, FDM Group said: “Far too many talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds miss out on a university education due to fears around tuition fees, a problem compounded by the chaos and disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our new apprenticeship programme has been designed to give those very people access to well-paid experience in the IT industry and having the freedom to learn and develop as part of a fully funded degree level qualification.

“We all have a responsibility to contribute to the UK’s wider levelling up agenda and we hope that our new offering will transform the lives of hundreds of young people, spreading opportunity and access to a fantastic career across the whole country.”

Joe Hockney, Employer Partnerships Manager, Sheffield Hallam University said: “We’re proud of our partnership with FDM and applaud their record of bringing diverse new talent into tech. This aligns perfectly with our Transforming Lives strategy. We’re the current University of the Year for Social Mobility; a high proportion of our students are from underrepresented groups or are the first person in their families to attend university.

“This apprenticeship offers direct routes into the industry for talented young people who may not have studied STEM subjects at A-Level. After the initial 12-week study block, they are ready to start working on client projects and adding value.

“Three years later, they graduate with a wealth of experience and no debt. I also want to mention that FDM pays above market rate for degree apprenticeships and provide full mentoring support throughout.”

To find out more about FDM Group, click here.

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