One of Wales’s largest IT employers, CGI, says that apprenticeships have strengthened the business and are now encouraging other companies to make the genius decision to recruit apprentices.

CGI, based in Bridgend, currently runs two Apprenticeship Programmes: a Level 4 Apprenticeship in Software Development, and a new Degree Level Apprenticeship in partnership with Swansea University.

Maria Whittingham, student recruitment specialist at CGI said: “Apprenticeships allow us to expand our workforce and create a pipeline of skilled employees for the future.

“Our Apprenticeship Programmes are tailored and targeted at tech-talented people looking for roles in software development and coding.

“We are not only heavily investing in young talent, which benefits the company, but also nurturing the next generation of technical business leaders.

“We’ve seen a positive impact on the whole workforce since we started to recruit apprentices. They bring a new perspective to their teams and to the wider business, whilst enhancing their own skills. They help to drive the company forward by providing innovative ideas and I would encourage any employer to consider this avenue of recruitment.”

CGI recruited its first apprentice in 2007 and has consistently maintained a high retention level with the vast majority going into full-time employment within the company after course completion.

Maria said: “We work closely with our training providers to ensure that our Programmes are tailored to our business needs. This is important for us as we then know that our apprentices are learning skills that they can then apply practically that will strengthen the businesses.

“We also set up an early careers community providing support and continuous development opportunities for our apprentices, challenging their existing thought processes, and enhancing their career prospects.

“Not only do we find our apprentices enjoy the benefits of a permanent, full-time employment contract, they can look forward to the structured training, hands-on learning, and the support and encouragement they need to get a tech career off to a strong start.

“Through apprenticeships we can ensure that our apprentices have a real understanding of the technology industry and are able to implement their skills practically.

“Personal development is also crucial to the early careers of our apprentices, to allow them to have a rounded experience and a balance when learning new skills. Transferrable skills, such as communication and resilience, are important to apply when learning on the job. This is key as we look to bring through the next generation of talented professionals.”

Maria added: “Apprenticeships are a cost-effective way of recruiting new talent. The financial support from the Welsh Government is an added incentive for us to further develop our Programmes.”