Our first event of 2020 was a busy one, full of energy and audience participation!
Our speaker, Euan Blair, Co-Founder and CEO of WhiteHat, a tech startup building an alternative to university, shared his moments from work and passionately spoke through the benefits of apprenticeship schemes vs university, for both the individual and the business.
Check out some of the takeaways from the chat below. We also recorded a live podcast episode on the evening.
To open up our discussion, Euan reflected on a significant moment that impacted his life - when his father became the leader of the Labour Party and later went on to be Prime Minister of the country. A very unusual situation to be in at a young age, Euan felt anything was possible but later came to realise that for many there are barriers to success.
Euan's career journey initially took a traditional path with a university degree, a masters and then onto a career at a top bank. After working relentlessly, Euan realised that he wanted to make a change and do something he felt he felt passionate about: giving opportunities to a diverse group of people.
Diversity within an organisation is so important - if you employ individuals with the same profile and background, it limits innovation. Employees will approach things in the same way and there will be a lack of new ways of thinking/ideas to drive the company forward.
WhiteHat have certainly celebrated some significant success in terms of diversity which is something to be applauded. Since 2018 they have had over 65,000 applicants, 65% of those placed were non white, with about half claiming free school dinners and 7% from refugee backgrounds.
Here at Mo we talk a lot about the importance of meaningful relationships and sense of community. University opens up opportunities for building up networks both personally and professionally, which can be a big attraction.
In comparison apprenticeship schemes traditionally are seen to focus on a specific set of skills rather than building emotional connections.
At WhiteHat they recognised that in order to offer a compelling alternative to university they needed to incorporate this into their programme. They have done this with socials, meet ups, sports teams and professional networking.
At WhiteHat the focus is working with young talent, in recent years there has been a real shift in the motivations and drivers for this group. Some of the tips Euan had for attracting, motivating and retaining a younger workforce, was around the company purpose and values. This group want to feel that their values are aligned with the company they are giving their time to. Organisations therefore need to ensure they are embedding their values into the business and talking about why they are important.
This evening was a fantastic and positive way to start our 2020 and we can't wait for more. As always any thoughts, feedback or ideas do share with us, we love hearing from you.
You can also check out the full conversation on our live podcast.
If you would like more information about WhiteHat and working with apprentices check out their website.