Leading software bootcamp Makers (@makersacademy) today celebrates the three year anniversary of its coding apprenticeship programme with a call for more businesses to plug their digital skills gap by funding career changers through the Apprenticeship levy scheme.

The appeal comes at a time when more than half of companies across Europe are struggling to fill technical vacancies and UK businesses are increasingly worried about the impact of the skills gap on their future profitability.

The Apprenticeship Levy can help to train more digital talent as recruitment for skills such as software engineering skyrockets amidst the pandemic. It helps to attract more diversity in the industry, as it enables people to earn while they learn - without debt and therefore a way of democratising access to the profession.

Launched in 2017, the government backed scheme stipulates that large organisations with an annual pay bill exceeding £3m must pay the levy at 0.5 per cent of those costs.

This levy money is converted into digital vouchers, which can be spent on apprenticeship training courses offered by members of the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP), which includes Makers. While £3 billion worth of apprenticeship levy is currently available, £1 billion is altogether unspent, and less than 1% has been spent on software engineering specifically.

In response to the crisis, Makers is urging businesses to use the levy scheme to work collaboratively with industry leaders to train up their future workforce.

The coding provider has continued to invest in its high-intensity and immersive Level 4 software developer apprenticeship programme, which can now be accessed through online learning anywhere in the UK.

Developed in response to skyrocketing demand for software talent, Makers’ programme offers coding training for those wishing to accelerate their careers as technology professionals, while helping companies get the talent pipeline they need.

Makers has borrowed from its eight years running a software engineering bootcamp in the way it runs its training. So far, Makers has provided over 50 businesses with more than 350 talented apprentices across software development and engineering including industry leading businesses such as Google, Capgemini and Comparethemarket.

Applicants do not need to hold a university qualification and the programme is open to everyone and to all age groups and backgrounds, from high school graduates to mid-career changers. The company is also pushing to close the gender gap in tech and hope to attract more diverse applicants for the programme. Since the creation of the apprenticeship programme — 46% of apprenticeship graduates have been women — twice the national average — and 54% have come from underrepresented ethnic groups.

Commenting on the milestone, Claudia Harris, CEO of Makers said:

“We love apprenticeships at Makers and it’s great to be celebrating our third year as the UK’s leading provider of the software engineering apprenticeship. There are many things to like about apprenticeships. Individuals earn while they learn so they provide a democratising way for people to train and enter the labour market. Companies hire talent trained to a standard created by industry so the training is job-relevant by design. Apprenticeships are both changing the face of tech and addressing the very real tech skills challenge faced across the sector. At Makers 54% of our apprentices are underrepresented ethnic groups and 46% are women. Companies across the UK are waking up to the fact that their £3bn apprenticeship levy can be spent to fill the huge tech talent gap. Today only £2bn of the levy is spent at all and less than 1% on software engineering. We are seeing this change as more and more companies recognise the huge opportunity apprenticeships offer individuals and the tech industry.”

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