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ALET partnership hailed 'Best Talent Developer' for second year
Fri, 15th Mar 2024

An industry/education initiative aimed at addressing the talent shortage in the digital infrastructure sector has been honoured with a top award for the second consecutive year. The partnership of ALET UTCs & Partners received the Best Talent Developer award at Data Centre World in recognition of the remarkable success of the Digital Futures Programme (DFP).

Launched in 2021 at UTC Heathrow, DFP was outlined as the first-of-its-kind curriculum, designed specifically for digital infrastructure. The programme equips students with the skills essential for successful careers in an industry grappling with an ongoing skills shortage. Many people remain oblivious about the existence of data centres – a fact that the DFP aims to change by cultivating new talent.

The DFP is delivered as part of an Engineering BTEC. Current students attended Data Centre World, where they were given challenges to complete, under the guidance of mentors from industry organisations that support ALET in the programme delivery: Amazon Web Services, CNet Training and CBRE, to name a few. These challenges aimed to provide students with a comprehensive insight into the industry and tested their soft skills by interacting with potential employers in a professional and business-like manner.

The students had the privilege of interaction with the Rt Hon Lord Kenneth Baker, a former Education Secretary and co-founder of the Baker Dearing Trust, which established the University Technical Colleges (UTCs). Speaking to the employer partners, Lord Baker stated, "Civilization depends on you, progress depends on you, and I’d like to thank all of you for supporting UTCs. You all are major employers and literally, we won’t get economic growth in the country unless we roll out technical education, so what you are doing is very important.”

A significant year for ALET UTCs and Partners, the team recently revealed plans to expand the DFP to all UTCs within the ALET Trust. This decision implies that around 600 students per academic year will gain exposure to technical education in network cabling and data centre specific skills, thus starting their career journey. The judges cited the focus of ALET UTCs & Partners on digital infrastructure technical education and employer collaboration as the key factors for their decision to award them the 'Best Talent Developer' award.

CEO of Trust Partner CNet Training, Andrew Stevens, said on the win, "It’s a testament to the whole project that we won for the second year running. Everyone is continuing to work hard; we’re expanding the programme and more and more people are really seeing the benefit of what we're doing. We're spreading the message, we're investing in the community and helping social mobility. It’s a wonderful project and I ask everyone to support it and hopefully we'll win it again next year."

ALET CEO Joanne Harper said: "The work of the Data Centre employers is truly inspiring; a model of collaboration for a brighter future for the industry as a whole; with future skills pipeline at the heart of their work. Students in our schools are privileged to benefit from the Digital Futures Programme, where employers support their education and inspire them to join the sector."