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How Hiring a Developer Apprentice Can Help SMEs Thrive Through the Pandemic in 2021

5 mins read time

By Helen

The COVID-19 lockdown has forced life to slow down in many ways, but some SMEs in the UK have found they’ve never been busier. This article will explain how finding the right developer apprentice can provide you with a talented new developer to ease the strain on your team, allowing your business to continue to grow and succeed during a global pandemic.


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We all know that COVID-19 has had a devastating impact, and has forced life to change in many ways this year. Because of the nationwide lockdown, some sectors of the UK economy have suffered, and thousands of people have spent most of the year on furlough or, worse, have lost their jobs.

Against this backdrop, many SMEs are finding their workloads have increased during lockdown, and some are under more pressure than ever to deliver new projects and speed up production while the rest of the business world is slowing down.

According to Business Leader, the pandemic crisis has generated a digital revolution among the UK’s small businesses. Research carried out by Small Business Britain, in partnership with BT Skills For Tomorrow, showed that 42% of small businesses across the UK have moved their services online as a way of adapting to the pandemic.

We’re now seeing a rise in demand for digital skills, and more developers, to support an entirely new business model of remote working that’s been adopted across the UK.

The coronavirus conundrum for SMEs

This digital boom is obviously a positive thing for the national workforce and the tech industry. However, for those of you who are at the forefront of delivering against increased demands, whilst also adapting to a ‘new normal’ and its associated challenges, you’ll likely be feeling the pressure:

  • You may be faced with multiple new projects that need to be delivered on time and within budget by a team that’s already stretched to its limits
  • You may have a steady stream of work, but only have a small team struggling to keep up with the volume of requirements
  • Of course, there are the added challenges that working remotely can present from a cultural or mental health point of view. We know many of you may have had to change the way your teams work to accommodate their personal needs
  • Many businesses we’ve spoken to feel they simply cannot afford to spare the cost of hiring a new developer.

Our tips for tackling this problem

While hiring an experienced developer may sound like an expensive proposition for many SMEs right now, taking on a developer apprentice allows you to achieve the same benefits of gaining an additional team member at a significantly lower cost.

To help the UK workforce continue to grow and thrive during the pandemic, we’ve created an innovative new programme which will provide you with an expertly-trained developer who’ll be ready to deliver ROI to your business over three times faster than traditional apprenticeship schemes.

Most apprenticeships are structured so the apprentice spends one day a week training and four days a week working in the business. But with lockdown making it more difficult to onboard and supervise a trainee remotely, we’ve come up with a new model to fast-track candidates who are trained by us remotely, out of your office.

For the first 12 weeks of our new programme, we train candidates up to four days a week, vastly accelerating their pace of learning and getting them ready to deliver quality billable work as soon as the 12 weeks are up.

This fast-track approach is the only apprenticeship programme designed to address the specific needs of your business within the COVID-19 pandemic. Our training curriculum for your apprentice will be co-created with you, focused on the languages and frameworks your team uses, rather than the generic training offered by other providers.

Additionally, for our SME partners, the government will pay at least 95% of each apprentice’s training fees, and you’ll receive up to £3,000 of additional funding for every apprentice you take on before January 31st.

This new apprenticeship will provide your team with an expertly-trained new member fast, saving you the hassle of recruiting and training someone remotely during lockdown, and saving you the expense of hiring an experienced developer.

Benefits for your business

Hiring a developer apprentice on our fast-track programme gives you the choice of skills, languages, and frameworks you want your new employee to learn. They’ll also be fully capable of supporting your team immediately.

In just three months, you’ll have someone who is ready to hit the ground running and deliver high-value work without constant supervision. And our apprentices are taught with an industry-led curriculum designed to take them to a higher standard than most junior developers.

Businesses who take this new fast-track approach will also gain a range of other advantages, such as:

  • Achieve ROI on your apprentice over three times faster than other programmes
  • No wait time before your new employee starts to add value to your team
  • Government levy schemes can mean your business pays none of the training costs
  • Full support for you and your apprentice for the entire duration of the apprenticeship, unlike bootcamps and standard coding courses.

Jim Semlyen, Owner and MD of Castlegate IT, said:

The Coders Guild trained our first apprentice from 2018 to summer 2020. He’s now a full-time member of our in-house dev team, and has been a huge success. We’re now recruiting for our next apprentice, with all training to be provided by The Coders Guild. From start to finish, The Coders Guild has given us first-class service and personalised developer training, providing us with the exact skills we needed.

Making the right choice for your team

Most developer training providers and bootcamps just teach code because that’s what’s easy for them, not what’s useful for you. At The Coders Guild, we prioritise delivering the specific skills you need to provide as much value as possible to your team.

Not only that, but we’ll adapt and evolve your apprentice’s learning programme based on your changing business needs and goals during these uncertain times.

Furthermore, this new fast-track approach to training removes the burden of managing an apprentice before they’re able to add value, by preparing them to be comfortably capable of delivering billable work when they start in full.

We also provide continued support well beyond that of a traditional training course or bootcamp, because we have a vested interest in making sure your apprentice will be successful in the long-term.

Crispin Read, Founder and CEO of The Coders Guild, commented,

We understand how quickly new challenges can arise in technology, especially in the current pandemic situation, so we always remain flexible to meet the changing business needs of all our clients. We’re also dedicated to helping all our talented apprentices continually develop and continue to learn, while ensuring we can quickly respond to any changes you may need us to make to our training.

Unlocking the full potential of the UK tech industry

Digital skills training is the key to unlocking the full potential of the technology industry in the UK, so it’s crucial that even something as disruptive as a global pandemic doesn’t stop your business finding the talent it needs.

Whether you want to finally address that gap in your team’s skill-set that has been waiting to be filled, or take on an exciting new project that could really do with an extra pair of hands, a fast-tracked developer apprentice is the ideal solution to your problem.

Our exclusive new programme is designed specifically to see that workforce growth and optimisation can continue, even while businesses are being forced to change and adapt during this challenging lockdown period.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity

Spaces are limited on this new programme, with only 24 places available for apprentices to start between December 2020 and February 2021.

Similar programmes we run receive 10 business applicants per apprentice, so there’s no time to waste if your team is in need of additional support.

Get in touch today to ensure you don’t miss out on this opportunity to discover the next wave of talented developers ready to make an impact on the UK tech industry.

For businesses looking to find new talent.

For those interested in an apprenticeship, click here to apply.

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