Jun 7, 2021 | Blogs and whitepapers

Last year WESTPOLE gladly joined forces with competence center Technobel to develop a brand new training program. The goal was to create a platform for job seekers and people with new professional ambitions to develop IT skills and rekindle their careers. The program was a huge success. Not only did ten participants finish the nine month training, they are now promising Java developers working with WESTPOLE and its customers. Furthermore, the program is testament to how WESTPOLE is an organization that provides the freedom for people to explore their talents and competences and grow as a person. Nowadays two challenges make staffing and sourcing extremely hard. On the one hand there is managing customer expectations. What can you provide and what does the client expect? Almost always these wishes exceed what’s realistically possible. Staffing and sourcing is about matching people and companies based on shared values and complementary skills. That’s no easy task.

On the other hand, the demand for IT profiles has never been higher. While every year a couple of thousands IT students graduate, that is not nearly enough to saturate the job market. Companies and organizations are on the look-out for a lot more qualified IT professionals. At the same time unemployment rates are soaring and a lot of people who do have jobs are contemplating to discover new fields of expertise.

To align offer and demand, the competence center Technobel, endorsed by the Wallonian government and Le Forem, the Public Service for Employment and Vocational Training in Wallonia, and specialized in digital professions, offers numerous quality training programs in the domains of ICT.

More than 150 applicants

At the start of 2020 Technobel contacted WESTPOLE for support in developing a new free training program. WESTPOLE is a provider of IT services and solutions with 30+ years of experience in technology and innovation. We take care of the management of infrastructure and applications for companies and support them in their digital transformation through a tailor-made all-in-one approach. WESTPOLE itself offers knowledge transfers from in-house experts to clients, but also provides technical headhunting and focuses on training/guiding valuable IT profiles. In this way, it matches the right people with the right project.

Seeing that WESTPOLE has a lot of experience in working with Java and so do its customers, the decision was made to put Java skills at the core of the program. Soon over 150 people, both unemployed people as well as workers looking to explore new career paths, applied for the program. Of this group about twenty were interviewed by both HR as well as technical staff from WESTPOLE, not so much to assess their technical skills but more so to get to grips with their ambition, attitude and the ability to think conceptually. Most of the candidates had never written a line of code. Eventually eleven, among whom were two women, were selected to take part in the training program: men and women, young and old, experienced and less-experienced, but each and every one extremely motivated.

Nine months of training

Because of WESTPOLE’s expertise, hands-on experience with Java and knowledge of customer needs, the contents of the program were tuned to the present developments of the market. Unfortunately, the same cannot always be said of university courses that quickly lag behind on market trends and the latest tool versions. In this case, feedback from WESTPOLE, its customers and the work field, truly propelled the quality of the training program.

The program was launched in June last year, submerging the participants in nine months of both remote and on-site courses. All participants learned to sell their strengths and exude confidence in the eyes of possible customers. An ability that is very crucial for every consultant. During the program the participants also completed three internship periods and built applications such as a timesheet app which WESTPOLE staff uses as of today. After completing the training program, 80% of the participants were hired on the spot by WESTPOLE. While most of them are now working at WESTPOLE internally, one consultant has been outsourced to a WESTPOLE customer. And many participants are being interviewed by customers to join their teams in the future.

Freedom and opportunity

IT companies that focus heavily on staffing and sourcing cannot not be proactive. With too few IT alumni coming through, organisations such as Technobel and Le Forem are fighting an uphill battle in trying to provide the market with sufficient IT profiles. Taking the initiative to train and educate is therefore paramount for all who want enough qualified professionals. That’s why WESTPOLE does its share in supporting new talents, because we believe in the power of growth and training.

As such, the Technobel training program became a highly relevant part of WESTPOLE’s staffing and sourcing pillar. Our cultural values respect individuality and growth for each employee. We combine a native drive for creativity and innovation, with a genuine care for environment and society. These values are the backbone of our WESTPOLE Mentality and are carefully passed on to our employees.