Opening the door to a career in technology with the Kickstart Scheme

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Article provided by Jashmin Gurung, Business Development Executive, Comtec Enterprises

Despite a career in tech being a promising one full of opportunities, employers are crying out for knowledgeable, skilled hires as the ever-present skills gap continues to widen.

If that skills gap continues to widen, it’s highly likely that in a few years there will be hundreds if not thousands of exciting tech-related positions available with nobody able to take them.

But if we know the jobs are there, why aren’t more of us taking them? For many of us, if we didn’t decide on pursuing a tech career in our school years and then into university and beyond, it can be overwhelming to consider switching careers at a later stage. For others, it may be a question of confidence.

This is particularly true for women, who are often discouraged from pursuing STEM careers at an early age. Because fewer women enter these fields, they have become viewed as masculine environments, creating fewer role models to encourage women to take the dive in the first place. Fast forward to today, and it’s easy to see why that cycle has been so hard to break. But we are breaking it.

One of the ways we’re breaking this cycle is by accepting that the traditional path to a career in tech isn’t the only path. Whether you’re 15 or 51, you don’t need a degree to prove your worth – you just need to find an opportunity to get your foot in the door.

For me, this came via the UK Government’s Kickstart Scheme, an initiative designed to help young people like myself find hands-on career opportunities with UK businesses. In return, employers can discover raw talent that they can train to fill their specific skills gaps – a true win-win. At the end of the placement, Kickstarters (as we’ve dubbed ourselves) will either be offered a permanent role or will walk away with an experience they would have otherwise struggled to get. Experience that will go a long way when it comes to applying for jobs in tech in the future.

Rather than studying, reading or theorising what a role in tech could offer me, the Kickstart Scheme gave me the chance to experience it from the get-go, learning, doing and receiving invaluable hands-on experience every day. I have Comtec Enterprises to thank for that experience.

Comtec is an award-winning IT provider, with offices in Reigate and Basingstoke, that works with some of the biggest tech vendors in the world to deliver everything from data centres to desktops for its customers – and just about everything else in between. Their team includes decades of experience when it comes to designing and installing IT environments, making it the perfect stomping ground for someone like me to begin their tech career.

The team at Comtec are all about development, hence their eagerness to tap into the Kickstart Scheme. I’m one of 45 Kickstarters brought on board over the course of the pandemic, a huge amount of hires that saw Comtec named the official ambassador of the scheme by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Not only have I landed a role I couldn’t have dreamed of applying for only a year ago, but I’ve also done so with an employer that’s invested in my future. Alongside my hands-on training, I had access to the Comtec training academy, where I received a personalised development plan, had one-to-one mentoring, and received everything I needed – from books to online resources – to broaden my knowledge.

It all sounds a little too good to be true, but I promise you that isn’t the case. If you’re like me, you’re ambitious, and you know you’ve got what it takes, but you’re not sure where to start without going back to square one, I urge you to consider an alternative route to tech.

See what government schemes are running, what public or private apprenticeship opportunities are out there, and sniff out those businesses that you want to work with, that also want to invest in your development.

Doing so just might transform your career forever.