Shropshire Star

Telford firm in bid to tackle a national skills shortage as company growth continues

A Shropshire business is embarking on an ambitious bid to tackle a national skills shortage.

Comedian Ellie Taylor with the team - Ryan James, Amy Corcoran and Rachel Morris

The company – nFocus Testing – has had a hugely successful two years, which saw them triple their client base, double their employee size and win a prestigious national IT award for Services Company of the Year.

The Telford-based firm, which specialises in software testing and quality assurance, is building on its success and is continuing its growth of its innovative academy, designed for computer science graduates, which is already exceeding their expectations.

It is using the academy to tackle a national digital skills shortage by training a new generation of SDETs (Software Development Engineers in Test). The company takes a selection of highly talented computer science graduates and puts them through an intensive 12-week training programme.

At the end of the course, each applicant will become a junior software tester and have the required skills to help businesses test and quality-assure software, working directly with nFocus’ wide-ranging list of clients.

Ryan James, Managing Director of nFocus Testing, said: “Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would have such huge success in such a short amount of time.

"The last two years have truly been transformational.

"We’ve brought in new clients across a wider variety of sectors, and we’re leading the way in showcasing how essential automated software testing and quality assurance has become.

“We’ve been around for over 24 years, and our growth is directly due to the rapid changes in technology. New software systems featuring machine learning and automation are highlighting exactly why our testing and quality assurance services are needed.

"However, those changes in technology have led to a national skills shortage. Digital transformation teams are struggling to keep up with the skills needed to continually test and quality assure that the latest tech. That’s why they are turning to us to help them find the right people with the right skills.”

Although the graduate academy was only launched two years ago, nFocus has now supported 38 individuals throughout the training programme. The initial expectation was that nFocus would help 16 people per year, but the demand for the training has led to nFocus tripling their graduate intake. The current success of the training has already seen the majority of junior software development engineers move into paid employment.

Ryan added: “This is hugely exciting because our academy is showcasing how our training isn’t just about upskilling people; it’s directly placing them into jobs that need their new skills. This is hugely exciting for clients as well as us because they can then hire the right people at the right time for their digital projects, knowing that they have the latest training and knowledge behind them.”

“We never expected the demand to be so huge. We had only ever planned to train one intake of graduates per year, and this has already increased to three. It genuinely excites us that so many graduates are seeing the appeal of a career in automated software testing and quality assurance.

"It’s a career that offers endless potential, and we are thrilled to be at the start of this journey, helping to tackle this national skills gap while also supporting businesses to improve their technology. It’s a real win-win.”

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