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Enabling diversity and creativity in cyber through apprenticeships

North Tower Consulting (NTC) is a successful, dynamic specialist management consultancy based in Cheltenham, providing comprehensive software, cyber security and lifecycle management solutions to a fast-growing cyber tech sector in the region.

The company is no stranger to working with apprentices, and has been committed to nurturing and developing future talent, while benefiting from the new skills and fresh ideas apprentices bring.

We asked Gemma Allen, Chief People Officer at NTC, to tell us more about the company’s approach and motivation behind employing apprentices, and the role apprentices play in supporting the company’s growth and development plans.

Reasons for recruiting apprentices

“Diversity is key to ensuring a progressive workplace and bringing in apprentices fosters a collaborative workplace between a range of workers from different backgrounds. At NTC, this has been extremely beneficial; the apprentices have brought great energy and plenty of new ideas to the business.

“We have also found apprenticeships a great way of upskilling our employees, especially when we are identifying ways for employees to transition into a leadership role.”

Apprentices’ roles and pathways

“Currently we have apprentices in our Business Service, Software Development and Cyber Security teams.

“We work with our apprentices to develop a learning programme that can support them throughout their course, and then look at how they want their careers to develop following completion of their apprenticeships. 

“Even though an apprentice has joined on a specific subject, this doesn’t mean this has to be their set path post course completion. We work with them to find out where their strengths are, what gives them the most job satisfaction and how can we align this with a career at NTC.”

Diversity and enabling growth

“At NTC we are passionate about supporting the future of professionals in our industry and providing apprenticeship opportunities is at the forefront of this. Within our industry, an ability to provide more diverse opportunities is a must, and apprenticeships are helping us do this.

“Apprenticeships and other schemes such as Industry 100, EmpowerCyber and Neurodiversity agendas, as well as partnerships between industry and academia like the West of England Institute of Technology, are making the cyber industry a diverse place to be. This diversity also allows different minds to innovate and supports not only our growth, but also the growth of the individuals and the industry.”

Benefits for employer

“We have had apprentices working on a variety of projects which have stemmed from their own ideas. They have also been able to identify efficiencies that can be made with our company. Not only do they support their own teams, they are always willing to support others.”

Ideal apprentice qualities

“What is important to us at NTC is that our apprentices align with our company values and culture. Finding someone who has a passion to learn, to express their ideas and the willingness to support others is key. For us it doesn’t necessarily matter what previous skills they have – we can support them to upskill in their chosen areas – what is important is the passion to learn and grow.”

Advice for aspiring apprentices

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and explore all the different options available. There are so many different apprenticeship programmes available now, compared to when I left school/college. Also, don’t think that if you have chosen a course, it has become your set career path. As you progress through your learning and work life, you will identify strengths and interests that you may have not recognised before. This will then allow you to identify what is important to you and your future career.”

Recommended to employers

“I recommend apprenticeships 100%. I think being able to learn at the same time as working means you can apply the knowledge more effectively within the business.  Apprenticeships are more accessible, meaning you will be able to engage with people who have a lot to offer but would not otherwise have come to your attention.

“Apprenticeships give people an opportunity to learn vital knowledge, skills and behaviours that will benefit them, the wider workforce and your business as a whole.

“I am incredibly proud of our apprentices, and seeing them grow and gain more confidence in themselves throughout the apprenticeship course is really rewarding.”

Partnering with Gloucestershire College

“Gloucestershire College provides great support not only to apprentices but to the business as well. We have excellent lines of communication and are in regular contact with their team. Gloucestershire College has demonstrated understanding and flexibility to the needs of us as a business and the needs of our learners. From the initial recruitment stage all the way through to the completion of the apprenticeship, the service they provide is faultless.”

To find out about GC’s apprenticeships programmes click here.

To discover IT & cyber apprenticeships, click here.

If you are looking to upskill your existing staff or hire an apprentice in IT, software development, software testing or cyber security, get in touch with Dawn Morgan, GC’s Business Development Manager, or email Employer Training & Apprenticeships team for no-obligation advice. 


Why Gloucestershire College?

We guide any ambitious and motivated person on their journey through education and their career, by providing the right environment that encourages and nurtures individual talents.

Our industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching team provide our students with the skills businesses truly need.

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