Computacenter help large organisations source, transform, and manage their infrastructure to deliver digital transformation.

As the company values putting customers first and developing their team long-term, Computacenter have had apprenticeship programmes since the early 2000s, long before the Government launched the levy scheme, and are delighted by their results with Firebrand.

“The levy enables us to do so much more, but we do it for the right reasons, not just to spend it,” says Ashley Keane, Future Talent Consultant and the leader of the Apprenticeship programmes. “What I love about Computacenter is that we make sure the right people are on these Apprenticeships – we help them fulfil their long-term goals.”

Ashley, who has a track record of supporting people at the start of their careers, is shaping the Computacenter Apprenticeship programme to ensure it also fulfils the company’s strategic needs moving forward. She plays a key role in the groundwork for each programme, mentors apprentices, and tracks their completion.

“The service I get from Firebrand is phenomenal.

82% of our learners receive Distinctions. We do lots of internal celebrations, which have helped grow the programme too.”

“Similar to Firebrand, one of our core values at Computacenter is putting our learners first and ensuring their long-term success.

This is why we work so well together. At the moment, there’s a roughly even split between new hires and existing staff on Apprenticeships, the majority of whom grow from one Apprenticeship programme to another on their learning journey.”

All of this would not be possible without the full backing of Computacenter Senior Management, who firmly believe in these values too. The public company, quoted on the London FTSE 250 (CCC.L), employs over 18,000 people worldwide. Most of their Apprenticeship programmes are in IT and Digital, which help acquire fresh talent, driving the expansion of their business post-pandemic. Firebrand Apprenticeship programmes are highly flexible; they’ve helped Computacenter grow organically, adapting to the needs of the market.

Why Apprenticeships and not courses, though? 

As Ashley explains, while courses may help staff upskill quicker, the company prefers embedding that learning into their roles so they can better assimilate the learning and put it into practice. This is why Ashley and her team do a lot of work upfront, before each programme starts, to ensure it fits really well within the job mapping. Not surprisingly, Computacenter see an impact on the business very quickly.

“We build an expectation with the Line Manager that it will take at least 6 months for the learning to show in how staff perform, but, in reality, I see that confidence grow within 3 months. We had an open evening last night, an apprenticeship panel; one of our learners is only 16 years old. She’s a completely different person due to this experience; she said, ‘7 months ago, when I started, I would have never believed I’d be sitting here in front of hundreds of people.’ This is why our outreach programme to schools and colleges is so important… I love seeing apprentices blossom; it’s one of the best things about my job!”

Apprenticeships are open to everyone regardless of age, from teenagers looking for an alternative to university to mature learners upskilling or, often, reskilling from other fields. “We’re always looking at their long-term development – what could happen next for them, whether they’re looking to stay in their current role or move to different departments – for example, one former Level 3 apprentice is now managing them.”

The opportunity for Degree Apprenticeships has only increased this.

“At least 50% of our current learners want to do them,” Ashley says, which is why support on both sides of the programme, Computacenter and Firebrand, is so important. “All our mentors speak from the same sheet; they prepare learners really well and address any challenges very quickly. My key contact at Firebrand (Martin) is an absolute superstar – he goes over and above for us.”

Thank you, Computacenter for sharing your experience with us!