Article | November 12, 2020

IBM’s Apprenticeship Program Prepares Workers for In-Demand Skills of the Future

Laura Ambrosio

Three in four technology companies both large and small face difficulty finding candidates with the right skills and abilities and 80% need more employees with technical skills such as data analytics, software development and engineering, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Future of Work Study.

As companies face greater difficulty finding candidates with the right skills, more employers (24%) are turning to train-to-hire programs such as apprenticeships to fill in-demand jobs.

CTA member company IBM is leading the way for apprenticeships in the tech sector to bridge the gap between the skills employers need and the workers with the aptitude to learn those skills.

Skilling Relevantly

IBM launched its apprenticeship program in 2017 to prepare its workforce with the rapidly evolving skills needed by the technology industry and explore new career pathways for candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds who might not have a traditional four-year degree.

IBM’s program varies from 12 to 24 months and focuses on building competencies through a combination of on-the-job training, mentoring and self-paced learning. Since launching the program, IBM has trained and hired more than 500 apprentices. Earlier this year, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna announced that IBM will continue its commitment to closing the skills gap and addressing diversity in tech by offering 1,000 new paid earn-and-learn opportunities through 2021.

“We have hired apprentices with very diverse experiences and backgrounds. One thing that holds true amongst all of them is that they demonstrate a passion for technology, an appetite for continuous learning and determination to overcome obstacles. The program allows them to learn relevant industry skills while earning, and without building student debts,” said Tommy Wenzlau, talent leader for new collar initiatives, IBM.

The Solution of Tomorrow’s Workforce

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate changes to the workforce, it will become even more important for companies to prepare for the future of work. Industry experts from, Bosch and T-Mobile joined CTA to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week and explore the ways employers are investing in America’s workforce and discuss how apprenticeships are a solution to their workforce needs. Companies interested in starting an apprenticeship program, may learn more in this recently released white paper or join CTA’s Apprenticeship Coalition, a collaborative effort by CTA member companies to expand apprenticeship opportunities nationwide.