We’ve been thinking hard about how we can best make sure that we have the skills that we need to help Hackney continue to improve the services we provide for our residents and businesses.
Having an in-house ICT and digital team means that we can be lower cost, more agile and service focused, and can avoid wasting time on contract change controls when we need to respond to the changing environment we work in. But to make this work well it’s critical that we invest in our people’s skills and learning, and that we plan for the longer term. We are also acutely aware of the importance of encouraging more diversity in the technology sector and see ourselves as having an important role to play in that.
Part of this is putting in place well thought out training opportunities for our teams, including having our people work alongside the expert agencies who are helping us deliver a wide range of exciting projects so that we can learn from them. Getting our training approach right is a priority for us and something we have committed to as part of the restructure that we completed recently.
Another key component of our workforce strategy is using apprenticeships to bring in our next generation of skilled people. We also think this will help us to keep our thinking fresh across the whole service by bringing in new ideas and understanding.
Hackney have had a long standing commitment to offering apprentice and trainee opportunities and we are building on this by taking advantage of the opportunity presented by the apprenticeship levy. We’ve now created 18 new ICT and digital apprenticeships (based on level 3 and level 4 accredited apprenticeship qualifications) across a range of roles covering:
- Applications management
- Data analysis
- Development and integration
- Digital service design
- ICT infrastructure engineering
- ICT support
This represents more than 10% of the posts in our team and we think that this will be a really big step forward for us. We start the recruitment to these roles on Monday 18 June and we expect to have our apprentices joining our team after the summer holidays.
Doing this in Hackney is particularly exciting. The borough’s schools have had an amazing transformation and now count among the best in the country. This gives us a great pool of local talent and skill to draw on and we hope that having the opportunity to contribute to improvements in their local borough will be something that makes our roles an attractive proposition for local young people.
Hackney also has a thriving tech sector with world leading business (large and small) based in the borough. On Monday 11 June we invited local employers to meet with us and discuss their ideas for ways that we can make our apprenticeships a success. Lots of really good suggestions were put forward, including:
- Making sure that apprentices are given specific projects to deliver so that they can build their own personal portfolios of experience
- Supporting our managers with the skills they will need to manage people who are at an early stage of their careers and have limited experience of the workplace
- And also a willingness to work together in future to share ideas and look for further opportunities for us to work together
We’re really looking forward to getting our digital apprenticeship programme started and working to deliver great results for the apprentices and for Hackney as a whole.