SwarmOnline is part of the November 21 Group of technology companies and employs 23 staff across Glasgow and Edinburgh.
As part of a visit to SwarmOnline’s Edinburgh office during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Forbes acknowledged the role the firm is playing in Scotland’s digital economy, as well as highlighting its work to help fill Scotland’s digital skills gap.
The Minister met with Iza Ledzka, a graduate apprentice working at the company who is currently studying for a BSc in Software Development for Business at Heriot-Watt University.
During the visit, representatives from both SwarmOnline and the university underlined the importance of apprenticeships for businesses and employees alike.
“It’s refreshing to meet a female graduate apprentice like Iza who is making her mark in a traditionally male-dominated sector with the help of Swarm, Heriot-Watt University and Skills Development Scotland,” Forbes said.
Ms Ledzka is the first graduate apprentice to be taken on by the firm, which has provided her with a valuable opportunity to further develop her skills.
“This has been a terrific opportunity to gain valuable experience working with one of Scotland’s leading companies. Putting my studies into practice in the real world will be hugely beneficial when I graduate,” Ledzka commented.
Ahead of International Women’s Day, Forbes underlined the importance of diversity and inclusion in helping to address skills gaps.
“As there are nearly 13,000 digital and tech jobs that go unfilled every year in Scotland, a focus on diversity and inclusion is vital to plug that skills gap,” she said. “Scotland’s apprenticeship family of offerings ensures we nurture the right talent, both in terms of professional skills and support our drive to promote equality in Scotland.”
Simone Mone, Managing Director at SwarmOnline echoed the Minister’s comments on diversity and insisted that through the increased uptake of STEM subjects among young women and girls, the sector will benefit.
“We are delighted to support Skills Development Scotland, who are leading the drive to deliver a meaningful apprenticeship programme across Scotland. Iza has worked on a number of projects for us and we have been hugely impressed with her knowledge and enthusiasm since coming here.
“I would actively encourage other businesses to provide training opportunities as part of this programme as both the company and the apprentice benefit from it. We are also especially keen to encourage more girls into STEM subjects at school, which could have a long-term, positive impact on our sector.