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Why Now is Not the Time to Take the Foot Off the Pedal With Hiring Apprentice Software Engineers

Staff Writer


apprentice software engineers Apprenticeships

Jill Dykes, Business Development Director at the University of Glasgow, discusses how businesses can benefit from hiring apprentice software engineers. 

Coronavirus has undoubtedly disrupted every aspect of our home and working lives. In my discussions with businesses over the last few weeks I’m encountering companies facing huge logistical challenges to keep their operations going when large parts of their work cannot be done from home.

Others are fearful of their customer base shrinking, while others are struggling to meet huge growth in demand for their technologies, as a result of the outbreak. In all cases, recruitment of early-career software engineers might be slipping down the to-do list a little.

With daily news of job losses in many sectors across our economy, it’s tempting and perhaps wise for many organisations to consider freezing recruitment while they wait and see what the world looks like post-Covid19.

But given that we entered this pandemic with a nationwide skills shortage in software engineering, should companies let opportunities to tap into a new talent pool of developers pass them by…?

This autumn The University of Glasgow will take in a fresh new cohort of apprentice developers in our Graduate Apprenticeship in Software Engineering programme, in partnership with an exciting group of employers.

In support of this, we’ve been engaging with young people who are passionate about a career in technology from all over the UK through our social channels, digital marketing campaigns, schools outreach, college engagement, and on-campus events (pre-lockdown of course).

Our messaging has reached:

  • Almost 3,600 people applying to study computing or software engineering at university in 2020 from across the UK (source, UCAS Media).
  • Over 500 undergraduate applicants to the School of Computing Science in 2020
  • All Scottish high schools

In addition to this, we’re targeting parent and teacher influencers who will support young people with their study and career choices. We’ve been engaging with approximately 400 maths and science teachers in Scotland.

Our ongoing work to engage with these groups represents a route to candidate software engineers that most companies wouldn’t otherwise be able to tap into. Our messaging around no fees, no debt, an excellent education with a Russell Group University, plus a highly valuable work experience and a career track with a partner company is really hitting home with potential candidates during this time of economic uncertainty.

With typical starting salaries for apprentice software developers sitting at around £16,000 – £18,000 apprenticeships are a low cost, low-risk way for organisations to invest in and grow their talent pool.

Meanwhile, most of the early work to teach and support apprentice software engineers is borne by us. Our summer school programme gets apprentices with less programming experience up to speed then apprentices spend the majority of the first 8 weeks of term learning and preparing for the workplace with us.

Their first full experience of the workplace would commence in January 2021, giving our partner employers plenty of time to adjust to whatever the new normal looks like and be in a strong position to support early-career developers.


Our 2019 cohort of apprentice software engineers is already surpassing expectations by making valuable contributions to their teams, putting to excellent use the combined class-based, work-based, and peer-supported learning they encounter with our programme.

We have one intake per year to our programme and recruitment is well underway with most of our partner employers.

Now is the time to take advantage of our last few spaces for 2020 entry and take this small step to invest in a strong software development workforce, ready to meet the challenges and opportunities that will arise when Covid19 is far behind us.

To discuss how you can engage with our programme contact our Business Development Director, Jill Dykes at:

Find out more about our programme and how our partner employers are growing their workforce, visit us at

DIGIT Staff Writer Robot

Staff Writer

Staff Writer - DIGIT

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