By Fiona Mason, RDT CHRO
I see our Early Careers programmes – and particularly our Apprenticeship Programme – as the heart of RDT, where innovation meets mentorship. The future of our InsurTech is shaped through our dynamic apprenticeship program. In this blog, I explore the remarkable journey of our apprentices, sharing their impact on RDT, and why apprenticeship schemes are integral to shaping the future of InsurTech.
A Talent Pipeline
The apprenticeship program at RDT is more than a learning experience; it’s a transformative journey that has the power to shape the future of InsurTech. Because we are known for our vision and innovation, talent development is critical to what we do. Keeping those ideas fresh requires constant skills and knowledge investment in our people. Having established our early career programme over seven years ago, we continually feed a pool of exceptional developers with a robust pipeline of talent.
Working within the business and engaging with the Open University, our apprentices can meld the values of internal experience with academic learning. They work on RDT projects to progress their studies and so can assist with the strategic and technical aims of the business.
The InsurTech landscape is marked by its agility. Apprentices, often in the early stages of their careers, embody this trait, adapting quickly to changes and contributing to a work culture that thrives on flexibility.
And at the heart of RDT is our commitment to providing solutions that resonate with our customers. Apprentices, unburdened by industry norms, bring a customer-centric perspective that is invaluable in refining and improving the user experience. Tom Juniper-Clark, our Apprentice Software Engineer, is working alongside the Product Owner of our flagship Policy and Admin software, Landscape, and says, “Working on this project has been incredibly enlightening. The focus on customer-care has not only sharpened my skills but also given me a profound appreciation for the impact my efforts have on the end-users. It’s more than a project; it’s a commitment to understanding and exceeding customer expectations.”
Apprentices are a breath of fresh air. Their eagerness to try new things, think outside the box, and challenge the status quo is a real catalyst for innovation, pushing us forward.
The synergy between experienced professionals and apprentices creates a dynamic blend of wisdom and new perspectives at RDT. It is this combination that injects vitality into our workplace, challenging traditional approaches and keeping the company agile and forward-thinking.
George Arney joined us in 2022 and has recently been working on the RDT B2B Broker Portal. George is completing his Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship via the Open University (sponsored by RDT) and is delighted to “earn as he learns”, which is how he refers to his paid employment at RDT. George recently delivered some crucial integration work that enabled our MGA client to test the technology as if it were live, but without the risks of it actually being so.
Phoebe Chapman, an apprentice who joined us in 2019 from Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School, saw our advert on Indeed. Phoebe has developed her technical skills through an exposure to a wide range of different tech like Web UI and Azure. Phoebe says that she has found her voice in delivering product demos and inter-team show and tells. Her teammates have said that her enthusiasm and drive to expand communication amongst the department has emboldened them to do more recorded demonstrations and take the lead in more client pitches.
A striking example of our programme coming full circle relates to our (now) Lead Software Engineer, Joe Porter. Joe came to us for a work experience placement in 2017 from secondary school – and then at the end of his A ‘Levels, in lieu of going away to university, became our first Apprentice with the OU. Joe now leads essential business projects (like our RDT B2B Broker Portal) and is integral to the identification of new talent in the hiring process. He now manages and progresses new apprentices’ growth, helping the company achieve our vision. Joe says that the supportive creative culture, encouraged his learning through a practical application of skills.
Impact on Local Communities
Our commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles extends beyond day-to-day operations. By investing in apprenticeships, we contribute to social mobility, and to the commitment of levelling up communities by offering opportunities for skill development and employment in the future.
Participating in local school career fairs, conducting mock interviews, and engaging with potential apprentices in ‘Meet the Employer’ sessions are essential components of our commitment to talent development. We engage across a wide spectrum of schools in our area, to reach a range of socio-economic groups. In fact, George joined RDT after we participated in a Careers Fair at his school.
Girls in Tech
Our presence at these career fairs is not only aimed to showcase the exciting opportunities within the tech sector but is our platform to connect with more girls with a passion for the technology field.
There is a well-documented gender disparity in the technology industry. Women are underrepresented in various tech-related roles, including software development, engineering, and leadership positions.
The gender gap can be observed in educational settings, with fewer women pursuing degrees in computer science and related fields. This can contribute to a smaller pool of female candidates entering the tech workforce. Recognising the underrepresentation of women in technology, we continually seek to diversify our workforce by actively engaging with young female students at an early stage of their educational journey.
We recognise that Uni isn’t for everyone, and we don’t want to miss out on the talented people who chose a different path.
This is why we offer Internships, Apprenticeships and Graduate Programmes.
Our interns have a great summer with us and many leave with an offer of a full-time role once they’ve finished their studies.
In the ever-expanding universe of InsurTech, the demand for tech-savvy professionals is insatiable. Apprenticeships have become a linchpin in bridging the gap between demand and supply, nurturing a new generation of talent ready to tackle the challenges of the digital insurance era.
RDT provides a supportive environment where apprentices can thrive and our experienced team imparts crucial skills, creating a safe space for learning and growth.
Keeping a strong pipeline of talent from our work on early careers via real world, real work experience, and connections with local schools, enables us to nurture the right opportunities for those we engage with. Sponsoring those we identify with Apprenticeship offers, prior to their exam results, for placement in our Software Engineering teams and engagement with the Open University.