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Digital skills development: Tips from the tech sector

Three top technology firms reveal their tips for recruiting and retaining digital talent


McLaren is most famous for the technical innovation that goes into its F1 racing and sports car engineering, but also has a sizeable advisory arm, partnering with organisations including GSK on engineering toothpaste production lines, for example. The organisation tries to inject creativity into its more formal training initiatives, such as a series of TED-style talks on topics such as 3D printing and big data. But these events are “as much about the networks and connections made as about the content,” reports group HR director Patrick Bermingham. Peer-to-peer learning is key. “Mentoring is really strong here,” he adds. “There’s traditional mentoring plus reverse mentoring. It sounds trite but the organisation improves itself with the peer-to-peer learning. We’ve also got informal clusters that just pop up and happen.”


Capco offers consulting and managed services to the financial industry in banking and retail banking, capital markets, finance, risk and compliance, global delivery, digital, technology services, wealth and investment management. “We work closely with some of the world’s leading universities, as well as industry bodies and other organisations to attract talent. We offer a broad range of internal, external and online training courses, including introductions to the latest technologies such as blockchain, IoT, and machine learning,” reports global human capital lead Isabel Naidoo. “We also partner with leading startups to help shape and deliver these programmes. We run mentoring schemes where our employees mentor students and recently, as part of International Women’s Day, offered mentoring opportunities with Technovation.”

Advanced Computer Software

Advanced Computer Software is the third largest software supplier to the UK market. It opened new offices in Birmingham two months ago, and intends to boost its workforce by 1,000 over the next 18 months. Advanced decided growing talent made more sense than poaching it: “It’s really expensive to have to [poach]. I have worked in companies where all our focus is on compensation. We’d spend fortunes on compensation surveys,” says group HR director Alex Arundale. Instead Advanced has recruited on attitude and learning agility: “We put them through a Seecap test to measure potential and that’s what we care about: do you have a mind that will think more broadly and problem solve?” says Arundale, adding: “This model doesn’t need hundreds of thousands of pounds. It requires focus and just doing it. I think any company can do that. If you’ve got the right motivation you can make that happen.”

Further reading

Are you heading for a digital skills shortage?

Aviva's digital skills Garage

Digital skills: Who needs what in HR?