GoFurther – the home of homegrown talent
"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, whilst continuing see the benefits of our investment in the great team we already have at GoCo Group."
Alex Currie - VP of People and Talent, GoCo Group plc
In just over 12 months we have achieved so much…
8 Academic partnerships
1st Cyber security internship
£280,000 investment in the GoFurther Academy
In a little over a year, the GoFurther Academy has evolved from an initial pilot scheme focused on addressing the skills gap to the winner of a Highly Commended Academic Programme award at the FinTech Wales Awards 2019.
As access to entry-level talent becomes increasingly difficult, we continue to invest heavily in innovative, creative, progressive and exciting roles, ensuring that GoCo Group plays its role in addressing the tech skills gap. At the outset of the GoFurther Academy we committed ourselves to four key areas: apprenticeships, internships, graduate schemes and work placements.
Throughout the past year, we have spoken to a number of prospective candidates for our degree apprenticeship programme who are either self-taught coders or have dabbled with tech in the past but were looking to retrain in a more structured setting. So as not to rest on our laurels, and in the spirit of continual improvement, we continue to build on the academy foundations laid out in 2018 and have added a fifth key area of focus: career changers.
A year on...
Last year saw the GoFurther Academy kickstart our first-ever degree apprenticeship in partnership with Aston University. Five local students joined GoCompare as Trainee Software Engineers alongside studying for a BSc Hons in Digital and Technology Solutions. A year on and all five have passed their first-year exams with flying colours and have well and truly embedded themselves within our engineering department.
Landing your first job out of university is a tough learning curve for recent graduates with limited work experience, and often, a resource drain on their teammates to get them up to speed on work environment basics.
We have seen first-hand the benefit of soft skills being favoured over technical skills in graduate employees. Skills such as communication, problem solving and teamwork can all be acquired through an internship. This has ultimately led to a boom of internship opportunities available industry-wide as a means of pipelining work-ready early careers talent.
The GoFurther Academy teamed up with the Welsh Contact Centre Forum to aid the education of the next generation of data scientists.
The initiative included other data-driven, well-established Welsh companies involved as the employer that the graduates work for four days a week alongside studying an MSc in Data Science at the University of South Wales.
GoCompare agreed to host two people per eight-month rotation. The first rotation saw Gerard Church win Best New Talent at the Wales Technology Awards. We then welcomed Kieran Billingham and Chelsea Brain to join us for rotation two. Both Kieran and Chelsea have been an asset to our data science provision since day one, and we are delighted to have offered them both full-time employment as Junior Data Scientists upon completion of their masters.
We’re delighted to have launched a firstof-a-kind work exchange programme with our London-based technology partner Rackspace. The pilot programme saw two of our degree apprentices spend two weeks with Rackspace at its ‘Rackspace University’, learning all about the world of infrastructure. We replicated this and had two Rackers on our work exchange programme ‘GoDiscover’ in November 2019.
Our new GoDiscover programme allows apprentices and grads from our partners to immerse themselves in the GoCo Group business and culture for a fortnight, which is proving to be invaluable experience for our junior employees.
It’s not just about furthering our talent in technology disciplines
This year we have started to focus on career changers, and are looking forward to exploring this area of people development over the coming months. There is a wealth of stats depicting the high percentage of the population that want to change careers. The challenge here is two pronged. How do employers keep the talent that they have in-house, and how do we support external talent in sectors that they may not have had previous experience in?
This year we have seen colleagues from marketing backgrounds move into our people team. We’ve supported a customer service assistant to upskill and join our front-line tech team. And we have recruited science and maths undergrads with no data science experience to join us as full-time employees in our data science team. The GoFurther Academy team are on a mission to make sure that those with the right transferable skills, attitude and aptitude find themselves in the careers they want to be in.