Sheffield software firm spends £1m on degree academy for apprentices

Servelec chief strategy officer Garry McCord and staff at the firm's office at Victoria Quays, Sheffield.
Servelec chief strategy officer Garry McCord and staff at the firm's office at Victoria Quays, Sheffield.

Sheffield technology company Servelec is spending more than £1m on an apprenticeship academy.

The firm, based at Victoria Quays, has hired a lecturer and will pay the wages and study costs of 12 youngsters as part of the project which aims to offer “the best of university study and work experience with no debt.”

Bosses say they want to give opportunities to local young people that are bright and able but might not be able to finance a traditional degree.

Trainees will take a software engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University.

After spending their first term at university they will be based in a new learning hub, gradually increasing the time they spend on real projects.

Servelec provides software for the health, social care, education and youth services sector.

Chief strategy officer Garry McCord said: “It’s not just about no debt. From day one they will be working in a professional software engineering organisation. It’s a huge opportunity for those who are selected, we are already seeing quite a lot of interest.

“But it’s not all rosy, they are working while studying for a degree, it’s more intensive than the traditional university route. But when they finish they will have three years’ experience and be a step ahead of any graduates who will have a generalised skillset.”

The students will spend a proportion of their time working on social and charitable projects that benefit the wider community to hone their skills, as well as working on the core Servelec systems, he added.

The degree is due to start in September 2019 and, students will graduate three years later.

Servelec’s investment of just over a £1 million covers the salaries of 12 apprentices, the lecturer, building the dedicated classroom and the apprenticeship levy. 

The firm says it helps care providers by streamlining processes and claims to be the ‘only supplier offering software solutions across three converging sectors of care: health, social care and education’. It also says they all face funding deficits, low productivity and a ‘severe talent deficit’.