Avanade’s early talent is growing fast

Mar 29, 2022 | Sector & policy

Avanade’s Early and Creative Talent Lead, Isabelle Fernandes, shares what the ISE award winner has been doing to grow its early talent programmes.

Avanade was delighted to be named winner of the ISE Award for the Best Overall Emerging Talent Strategy in 2021.

Pre-pandemic, our graduate and apprentice hiring volumes were relatively small in comparison to other companies, so the ISE award is testament to the organisation’s ever-growing commitment to hiring and developing diverse early talent.

To paint a picture in numbers, in 2020 we hired eight graduates. 2021 saw an 87% uplift (including the first graduates hired into the Irish business). A fantastic 40% increase is forecast for 2022 with additional apprenticeship and corporate citizenship partnership pipelines in place.

Our development of the early talent programmes in the UK and Ireland focuses on engaging top technology talent whilst upholding core values around diversity, personal candidate experiences and market leading training and career development.  

Over this next year Avanade will continue this path while seeking new and innovative ways to put in place programmes and opportunities which are attractive and fulfilling to both candidate and business!

Where have we focused our early talent strategy over the past year?

Significant training investment

In 2020, Avanade launched the VelocITy programme across three technology areas – modern cloud engineering, data & AI and security.

We partnered with an external training provider to provide three months of upfront technical and soft skills training. The purpose was to create a well-defined, robust graduate opportunity and one that was attractive in the market. The training opportunity stands out as one of the top reasons for candidates making Avanade their employer of choice.  

Also, in 2021, Avanade re-vamped its apprenticeship programme by partnering with a new provider who delivered tailored technical learning and experience to apprentices.

Diversity and hiring for potential

Our early talent approach has strong focus on Avanade’s core business values that everybody counts. The fact that diversity of workplace creates diversity of thought is widely understood and practiced in the strategy.

The three months of training as part of our graduate programme ensures hiring conversations are consistently shaped around candidate curiosity, potential and excitement to pursue the role. We have removed old-fashioned expectations around being polished and client ready instead prioritising diversity and potential.

Of 76 technical graduates hired between 2021- 2022, over 70% are female with representation from a multitude of cultural, socio-economic and degree backgrounds.  We have successfully de-bunked the myth that you must have studied STEM subjects to work in tech.

Corporate Citizenship partnerships

Avanade’s Talent Acquisition team works hard to bake existing diversity and corporate citizenship partnerships into the attraction and recruitment strategy. This ensures we are targeting a wide and diverse set of candidates and touching on areas and skill sets, which may have previously not been prioritised.

We are pleased to have successfully hired students who have been part of a mentoring programme run in partnership with The Aleto Foundation.

Synergy between Talent Acquisition, HR and business stakeholders

Our hiring and development process is transparent – we are passionate about ensuring we set early talent hires up for success!

All interviewers who partake in graduate assessment days must complete our ‘Licence to Hire training.’  The Talent Acquisition team also ensures open communication channels and multiple check points for candidates coming through the process to meet, get to know and ask questions of both their future hiring managers and, most importantly, current graduates who have started on the career journey they are about to embark on.

Ongoing career supports

All graduates have career advisors and buddies alongside a training programme lead who support them in finding their feet as they start to grow in the organisation.

The retention has been strong and this wrap around care alongside engagement with the global employee network base has had brilliant feedback from candidates. 

We continue to see examples of early talent developing extracurricular and personal interests outside of their technical and, or consulting roles – it is great to see these being shared by them with their peers and the wider business.

Hopefully, this gives a flavour of some of our focus areas. I would be happy to answer any questions and you can contact me through the ISE member network.

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