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Closing the Data Centre Skills Gap: Why Early Development Programs Are Crucial”

Written by Mary Pender, Director of Talent at Pulsant.

The digital boom is fuelling a surge in tech job demand, but a widening skills gap is creating a talent drought. This isn’t just a data centre problem; attracting and retaining skilled professionals is a critical issue across the entire technology sector.

The UK’s tech skills gap is a persistent hurdle for businesses, hindering industry growth. Proactive solutions are essential to bridge this gap and unlock future potential. Pulsant have highlighted their success with their apprenticeship programme, as a solution to close the data centre skills gap, and advocate other companies across the industry to take inspiration.

Why its important to invest in future talent

Apprenticeships are the cornerstone for bridging the needs of young professionals by offering them unique opportunities to start their career and gain vital industry experience and qualifications while in the return, progressing these fresh talents to become the next industry leaders will help ensure the industry’s growth for generations to come.

For Pulsant, the journey began connecting with school leavers and graduates, who lack awareness of the data centre world, despite being interested in the relevant technology roles. Collaborating with local education establishments allows leaders to be able to tap into existing talent pools to be able to identify promising candidates. In Pulsant’s case, they collaborated with Gateshead College and Elite Training in Scotland, which proven to be an invaluable experience, ensuring the data centre experts received a seamless transition of apprentices being introduced to the data centre world while also, their internal leaders gained necessary skills to mentor and support the development of the young professionals.

Through their collaboration, Pulsant have recruited five apprentices in one cohort, which has been one of their most ambitious investments to date. Their programme allows apprentices to take up positions across their facilities being Edinburgh, Newcastle, Maidenhead and a Manchester data centre. The new apprentices will work alongside seasoned professionals, who will help guide them towards attaining those industry-recognised qualifications.

Mutual Beneficial

The apprenticeship programme is not designed just to attracting new talent, but also to allow Pulsant to create a culture that’s inspired to learn and develop within their organisations. The programme delivers real value to their internal team, giving them the opportunity to harness new skillsets through coaching, mentoring and leadership.

The programme also opportunities to others internally, to progress to supervisory roles and hone their mentoring abilities. With that, Pulsant believe it is important for them to ensure the appropriate tools and support are available and ready to be offered. Because realistically, anyone internally, that jumps from a technical role to a leadership role is going to promote the need for the right training and support to allow them to manage, mentor and formally appraise the new apprentices to meet their on-the-job qualifications standards, which is just as important as the recruitment process itself. Pulsant believe they’re not only investing in the future of their industry but ensuring their internal team remains at the forefront of their innovation and excellence.

Creating a self-perpetuating learning cycle

Through their new apprenticeship programme, Pulsant have managed to create a self-perpetuating learning cycling within their business to retain and develop talent. While their new talent will gain deep organisational knowledge and qualifications, they will then bring fresh perspectives and challenge conventional thinking within Pulsant’s organisation that will sustain the company’s growth.

New apprentices, through their development will offer Pulsant in return, unique generational viewpoints on the modern workplace, which is vital for them to embrace because the new apprentices are likely to become the representatives for future clients. Thus, listening and incorporating fresh ideas, ensures Pulsant evolution for years to come, as demands become everchanging. The apprentices can also nurture the next generation, some of Pulsant’s leaders started off as apprentices themselves and all display a “pay it forward” mindset.

The future is strong

This journey has allowed Pulsant to be confident for the future, as they believe apprenticeships are crucial for a strong talent pipeline. They can foster a culture of learning and development, increase people engagements, job satisfaction and loyalty.

What’s more, it provides a platform that ensures their talent pool remained skilled and adaptable, enabling it to respond effectively to everchanging business needs and competition.

Pulsant advocate that organisations within the data centre space need to embrace these innovations because they’ll not only address their immediate talent needs, but also lay the foundation for future growth and success. The industry as whole can build a more resilient workforce that will drive innovation and accelerate the data centre industry forward.