Sainsbury’s launches software development apprenticeship in bid to up tech skills

Retailer Sainsbury’s is targeting those with and without previous technical skills to become software development apprentices

Sainsbury’s has launched an apprenticeship scheme targeting individuals who want to learn coding skills. The retailer announced it is taking applications for the specialist apprenticeship until 7 July 2016.

On its application page, the retailer said people who are thinking of applying do not necessarily need previous coding experience, but should have at least a Level Three qualification, a C grade pass in GCSE English and Maths, and a passion for technology.

Jon Rudoe, digital and technology director at Sainsbury’s, said: “Over the past year we have grown our digital and technology team to more than 900 people. We want to discover the next generation of coders and give them great opportunities and training in our fast-paced business.

“By creating these apprenticeships, we’re enabling people to turn their passion for technology into a potential career with us.”

The two-year apprenticeship programme will launch in the summer of 2016 after 10 successful applicants are chosen to participate.

Apprentices will be based in the Sainsbury’s Digital Lab in London, where they will go through a six-week coding and developing bootcamp. 

The apprentices will then take part in Sainsbury’s digital projects, focused on improving the online and technical shopping experience of the retailer’s 24 million customers and 161,000 staff.

The 10 participants will learn skills such as Java, PHP, Python, JavaScript and Golang programming languages, as well as business skills, team development and the lifecycle of technical projects.

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At the end of the two-year course, the participants will have gained essential coding and developing skills, as well as a Level Four qualification in software development, equivalent to a degree.

The retailer, which has more than 1,200 outlets in the UK, has been focused on a digital push over the past two years. 

This started with the launch of the Sainsbury’s Digital lab in Holborn in August 2015, which was designed to allow in-house development teams to promote innovative digital development for the supermarket firm.

To take steps away from the traditional retail model, Sainsbury’s began restructuring to invest in digital during 2015. It and proceeded to launch an online channel for its clothing business, as well as partner with Argos to roll out Argos digital kiosks in selected supermarket locations.

The firm, which currently has 101 click and collect locations for grocery delivery, plans to roll out more locations for the service across 2016.

At the beginning of 2016, the firm developed 150 digital roles in Manchester to add to its 900-strong in-house development team.

Though online sales have been rising for the retailer, cuts have been made elsewhere to cater to digital and development roles as part of the structural shift.

Rudoe said: “Technology plays a key role in delivering Sainsbury’s strategy. These apprentices will get the chance to work on projects across our business, from online groceries to our clothing website, banking and much more. They will also be working alongside some of the most talented people in the industry.”

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Yes, yes, yes. With kudos to Sainsbury. Far too many US companies bemoan the lack of skilled tech workers but do little to solve the problem. It would be far easier to stop grousing and work on a far better solution than outsourcing. 
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