The GoFurther Academy – Bridging the gap between education and the workplace

Here at GoCo, our staff are at the heart of our business. That’s why we make sure that they are at the top of their game. The GoFurther Academy is an initiative that will enable the existing workforce and prospective students develop and progress in their careers. Since the GoFurther Academy launch in May 2018 it has evolved from initial pilot schemes to the winner of a Highly Commended academic programme award at the FinTech Wales Awards 2019.

Our objectives are simple:

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There continues to be a limited amount of entry level tech talent in the UK and through the GoFurther Academy we continue to promote the ever-widening variety of jobs available to generation X, and career changers, outside of generic IT jobs. GoCo Group demonstrates a whole host of innovative, creative, progressive and exciting roles that await the next generation of tech workers and we must play a role in addressing the skills gap before we miss out as an employer, and as an industry.

As a part of this initiative we now have over 30 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ambassadors that we train on site with local company See Science to go to schools and colleges to showcase tech and data driven workplace cultures, as well as the exciting roles in the sector that young people may not be aware of.

The percentage of women in STEM for technology and mathematics are 19% for computer studies and 38% for maths. The shortfall is hardly surprising when we consider that 13% of the overall UK STEM workforce are women leading to relatively few female STEM role models as a consequence1. Therefore, we’re thrilled that half of our STEM ambassadors are female and work with the academy to represent digital women in wales in attending career fayres and talks at schools to encourage girls to continue their studies in STEM related subjects.

Though we can’t do this alone. Partnerships are key. The GoFurther Academy have created a wealth of partnerships across the UK. Such as with Aston University, Swansea University, The Open University, University of South Wales, Cardiff University, Cardiff and the Vale College, mifuture, Cardiff Council – the Cardiff Commitment, WCCF, the National Software Academy and the Data Science Academy.

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At the outset of the GoFurther Academy we committed ourselves to four key areas: apprenticeships, internships, graduate schemes and work placements.

Though throughout the past year of recruiting for GoFurther Academy opportunities we found a real talking point was the amount of hopeful career changers we spoke to. For instance, we had a significant amount of applications for our degree apprenticeship from people in non-technical roles who had self-taught coding. So as to not rest on our laurels and continue to build on the academy foundations laid out in 2018, we have added a fifth key area of focus: career changers.

“It’s exciting to look back at what we’ve achieved since launching the GoFurther Academy 12 months ago; expanding partnerships with colleges, schools and universities have given opportunities to local talent, while continuing see the benefits of our investment in the great team we already have at GoCompare.”

Lee Griffin, Founder and CEO of GoCompare

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And how does it benefit us?

The GoFurther Academy brings us new bright sparks with innovative and creative ideas.

It’s a win-win!

But, all of this is not enough. There simply are not enough candidates for the future needs of our business and tech businesses in South Wales. We need to do more as a community of tech leaders to promote Wales as a global centre of technology excellence. The GoFurther Academy will give us the platform to be able to do this.

Alongside government schemes, our future can be forged with a consistent and practical approach to the skills shortage in technology. It is a future that is bright, but one that we need to work at to achieve.

If you'd like to find out more information about the GoFurther Academy, please contact the team or email gofurther@gocompare.com

1https://www.stemgraduates.co.uk/women-in-stem