We help employers to develop their best talent and inspire the next generation through apprenticeships, career development, and skills.
We are on a mission to help challenge perceptions around careers in IT and telecoms and build the workforce of the future.
Tell us about yourself?
I come from a commercial background and joined the ITP in 2017 to grow its apprenticeship scheme as the Apprenticeship Scheme Manager. During that time, I worked my way up into the Head of Apprenticeships role and grew the scheme by over 75%.
We have encouraged and continue to encourage many businesses to look to apprentices as a solution to the UK technical skills gap and to train the generations to come. This year I stepped into the role of CEO.
Since I did not have the educational opportunities that I would have liked and as a result of being educated on apprenticeships, I became passionate about promoting apprenticeships as a vital and viable alternative route for new people entering the industry as well as for upskilling those already in the industry.
Apprenticeships allow people to study and learn while acquiring skills and developing as professionals in a real-world environment. I am passionate about enabling people to turn their love of digital technology into a skill set ideal for their future career.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
This is a difficult question to answer because I did not picture myself in this role a year or two ago. Having said that, I think the piece of advice would be: ‘don’t limit yourself to what you’ve always done or been and remember that you are absolutely capable of anything!’
What problem does your business solve?
We are helping to solve the UK technical skills gap within the telecoms and digital industries.
We run an apprenticeship scheme on behalf of our partners which recruits, trains and develops their new employees for them.
Since we launched the scheme in 2013, we’ve created hundreds of new roles in the industry, over 11 different standards with over 100 companies.
We also help organisations develop their existing workforce through career development, mentoring, professional registration, knowledge seminars, insight events and access to our technical journal.
We offer a membership subscription service which allows individuals to pick and choose the elements they need the most which enables them to really push their careers further.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
The ITP has a proud history. Starting life in 1906 as The Institution of Post Office Electrical Engineers, we have represented the views of the telecoms industry at a strategic and international level ever since.
The purpose of the Institution when it launched was to promote the advancement of electrical and telegraphic science and its uses, and to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas on these subjects amongst the members.
The organisation remained in place for decades, evolving alongside the telecoms industry.
In 2007 we changed the name to The Institute of Telecommunications Professionals to reflect ourselves as the independent authority for the telecommunications industry. In 2020 changed again simply to The ITP.
Our work is now split into three distinct areas:
- Development: we assist our members at every stage offering qualifications, ongoing CPD or mentor matching.
- Apprenticeships: Our apprenticeship scheme was launched in 2013 to tackle the UK’s digital skills gap. Since then, we’ve recruited hundreds of apprentices and enabled businesses to grow their own talent. Our unique scheme takes care of every element, so all businesses can benefit from apprentices.
- Skills: from our annual awards ceremony to behind-the-scenes visits of the likes of the BT Tower, we offer networking and knowledge opportunities throughout the year. Not forgetting our quarterly publications packed full of industry insights.
What is your magic sauce?
We are the only independent association representing our industry in the UK. We are also unique in that businesses can outsource their apprenticeship scheme to us. We take care of everything from the initial recruitment through to the ongoing career development.
This is because we are well-established in the industry and have longstanding partnerships, with access to 1000s of members, we have a great network to call upon. This means we can match individuals with amazing mentors to help them get the most from their careers.
We have a team who are unique, creative and personable. We strive each and every day to change lives and we are proud of who we are and our background.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
As part of our mission to build the UK’s digital talent pipeline and fill the skills gap, our plan is to continue inspiring companies to challenge their perceptions of what a typical apprentice looks like in various digital roles.
Our plan is to encourage employers to remove entry requirements for those looking for roles within the industry, and to ensure true diversity and inclusion is achieved. We have continued to demonstrate that you can hire personality and train the skills and we will continue to do so.
There is much change that needs to be done to address the skills gap and it is not something that can be done overnight but what we do now to challenge perceptions will affect the generations to come.
We need to start from the beginning by teaching the younger generations that they can be anything that they want to be and educating them on the opportunities available in our industry. This will be one of our main focuses over the next five years.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Our greatest hurdle thus far has been the loss of our CEO, Crissi Williams. This put a halt to many of the ITP plans, and it was extremely difficult for me and the team to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
However, in the midst of adversity and with the support of our incredible members and partners, we became stronger and continued to be our unique selves.
I stepped into the CEO role, which I did not anticipate to happen so soon, especially under such circumstances, and I had to challenge and push myself to be the leader the ITP needed and deserved.
The ITP has naturally changed course, but we are more passionate, determined, and resilient than ever before.
How do people get involved/buy into your vision?
If you’re an employer who is passionate about diversity, inclusivity and giving people opportunities and you are thinking of starting an apprenticeship scheme, then get in touch. Help us to bridge the skills gap and get more people the careers they deserve.
We can advise and assist on anything from funding to recruitment and training and can share with you how we’ve helped hundreds of businesses already.
Likewise, if you’re an employer in the telecoms or digital space and want to offer your staff upskilling and development opportunities or you’re an individual looking to drive your career forward then get in touch and we can talk through our career development subscription offerings.