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The latest news from SoA


How many of us knew exactly what we wanted to do when we left school? And did we really know the exact path to get there?

There are so many options when it comes to further education ; college, universities, internships and of course, apprenticeships and traineeships. Here at the School of Automation (SOA) it’s our mission to help anyone build a career in Robotic Process Automation. We know that we work in a fast-growing industry and want to give anyone – no matter what their background – the chance to thrive in this field and have a successful future.

George and Liam are two of our current recruits from our 12-week foundation programme in Ireland which is followed with a one-year Software Process Automation Developer Traineeship.

Liam’s story

Liam, 27yrs old from Co. Clare first saw the SOA traineeship on a jobseeker’s website and it struck him due to the fact he would be able to work and learn whilst taking part in the course. Prior to the pandemic, Liam spent three years at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) studying internet systems development. He had been looking for something remote, so again SOA’s traineeship ticked all of the boxes.

Liam said: “When it comes to remote learning, as long as I had direction on what I was doing and how to learn, I am fine. We really are supported all of the time and whenever you ask for help you get it. After the initial interview, the team spent about a week getting to know you and see your creativity – it was great that it wasn’t completely just classroom-based, but very interactive.”

Liam added that the traineeship journey so far has been great; trainees go at their own pace and are not rushed to do projects. With the training projects, they are largely done with others so people can work together to generate ideas for projects.

Within the first 12 weeks, the trainees work on test projects to mimic real life scenarios such as gathering data from websites which bots will then put into an excel spreadsheet.

Liam concluded: “I would recommend the traineeship to anybody who isn’t interested in the typical academic experience. It’s quite nice doing things for an actual purpose.”

George's Story

Much like Liam, George, 24yrs old from Co. Clare came across the initial information on SOA during covid. George had ideas of going to college, but it would have involved a great deal of upheaval with finding accommodation, buying a car and moving.

In fact, he had been working in the same local pub for years, just two minutes from his home and realised he wanted to do something different, thanks to his uncle.

George explained: “My uncle actually came to me one day as he found information on the course and asked if I would be interested in attending an open day. I went along and heard Marc (SOA’s CEO) and one of the developers talk and they spoke about working from home and that you didn’t have to be tech savvy. I honestly really went along to the open day to please my uncle - but after 15 minutes of hearing them talk – I thought, ’Why should I be working in a pub for the next five years when I could be doing this?’ I am so happy I went along.”

While he had done an IT course previously, George knew nothing about RPA coming into it and he admits it first looked like rocket science and he was intimidated by the software.

He added: “Our trainer Sophie broke it down into smaller processes and I really enjoy it now. I can see how useful RPA is for businesses for menial tasks instead of humans and spreadsheets, you could have a robot doing it for you, and more accurately.”

Both George and Liam agree that SOA has given them the stepping stone not only in a career in RPA, but also in terms of office experience,email etiquette and professional skills before getting into a real working environment.

George concluded: “The more I hear about RPA, the more it sounds like a growing career and industry, especially here in Ireland where there aren’t many people doing it. I really enjoy the development side and can see myself doing it for a long time.”

Are you interested in finding out more about SOA’s apprenticeships and traineeships to see if it could be the right move for you? Get in touch today.

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SOA is pleased to announce that it has become an accredited centre to deliver SQA qualifications as part of its apprenticeship model in Scotland. SOA’s Robotic Process Automation apprentices are supported by an SQA qualification while on their journey to becoming experienced developers. We are delighted to have been granted accreditation by SQA and look forward to working closely with the awarding body.

What is SQA accreditation?

The Scottish Qualifications Authority provides a wide range of high-quality, internationally-recognised qualifications and associated services. Based in Scotland, but working across the UK and internationally, the SQA works with training organisations like SOA, as well as schools, colleges and universities to develop and deliver qualifications and assessments which accurately reflect learners’ knowledge and skills and provide routes to jobs or further study.

SQA Accreditation quality assures the qualifications offered in Scotland and recognised internationally by approving and regulating awarding bodies and accrediting their qualifications against published regulatory requirements. Once as awarding body has received accreditation, the SQA works closely with training providers and offers support, advice and guidance to enable awarding bodies to comply with its regulatory requirements and promote effective regulation and continuous improvement.

Speaking about the accreditation Marc Cooper, CEO of SoA said:

“Our ability to deliver the SQA qualifications and industry certification gives our learners further confidence that their training will be recognised globally and will open the doors to exciting opportunities in the world of process automation. We are proud to be able to add this to our portfolio and it is a testament to the quality and standard of learning that we provide.”

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In the third in our series of blog posts, we are exploring the work we do at the School of Automation (SOA) to achieve the four key pillars set out in our vision statement:

“To broaden the opportunities for people to release their creativity and develop the technical skills to transform the world around them

1. Broadening Opportunities

2. Release Creativity

3. Develop Technical Skills

4. Transform the World around them

Why develop technical skills in Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Here at SOA, we couldn’t be more passionate about creating the best career pathways for our developers in one of the most exciting and progressive fields.

The reasons? Firstly, the market shows no sign of slowing; according to Gartner, robotic process automation (RPA) is the fastest-growing software market segment among the more than 80 major segments that it tracks.

In its report, Gartner also predicts that 90% of large organisations across the globe will have adopted RPA in some form by 2022.

Secondly, we pride ourselves on working with some of the leading partners in the automation field including UiPath, who work with SOA to offer some of the best training in RPA.

Gillian Martin from Dublin signed up for the foundation training course and hasn’t looked back.

She said: “When I heard about the foundation training course in RPA, I felt it would be a good learning opportunity, as I recognised it as a big growth area for business.

“In the 12 weeks, I gained a lot of practical hands-on experience in working with the automation software. The course content also covered soft skills, which I feel will be very beneficial in the workplace. I have obtained 13 diplomas and built-up enough knowledge to move onto a 1-year Traineeship. I would recommend this course to anyone looking for an opportunity to start a career in RPA.”

The UK Government has said it is committed to ‘levelling up’ across the country, and investing in local communities – the investment will include improving everyday life as well as generating employment opportunities, all while supporting local economic growth. As SOA’s vision statement says, we want to ‘broaden opportunities for people’ and in turn equip them with the right training to achieve the jobs they desire.

How SOA is bridging the gap…

SOA is committed to training people who might have never had a chance to do so before and for those with little or no experience in this field. The courses are opening up the opportunities for those looking for a viable career change and also enabling younger people to get ready for their future jobs.

Our team can be there every step of the way to ensure they are developing their personal and professional skills as they go along. And of course, at the end of the training, they will secure themselves with a recognised RPA accreditation to take forward.

In recent years, there’s been a skills gap of those getting into the industry, so those with this digital technology background and qualifications, will be perfectly placed to fill the highly skilled and higher paid roles as they move forward.

At SOA, we put a huge emphasis on futureproofing the careers of our developers – while RPA may be evolving, we know that a solid background and accreditation will put them in good stead to keep moving forward and develop their career in this fast-moving space.

When it comes to nurturing the technical skills of our apprentices, it really is at the heart of the work the whole team do at SOA. Here are just a couple more reasons why…

Valuable skillset

Whether apprentices or trainees are at the beginning of their career or making a change later down the line to learn something new, garnering skills in the world of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is invaluable.

It is a fantastic entry point - the skills learned in this space will be needed across all industry sectors as automation becomes more common place - any business could benefit from developers who have built up their skillset during their time with SOA.

Again, Gartner analysed over 125 million job descriptions posted between 2015 and 2019 to size the demand for technology skills and found the demand for data and technology skills had increased by 32% within IT and 97% in business areas outside of IT.


“I have really enjoyed the apprenticeship journey so far. A big part of that is getting to not only learn about automation but getting to work on live projects with clients. I have learned so much by just speaking to clients and finding out how to interact with them, to handle changes and adjustments requested by them etc. I don't think I could have got this opportunity anywhere else“ Alpha Arakaza

At SOA, the emphasis with the training programmes is not just about learning about RPA but also gaining the crucial on-the-job experience during the 18-month placement programmes. When it comes to experience, there is no fast track in getting it – it takes time and working through the challenges (and successes!).

Automation technology, problem solving and software is always changing, so the more experience, the greater base it provides to be used in a future career. It’s also vital to work alongside real colleagues/ clients outside of the training environment, as this is truly the best way to learn about how RPA works in real life business context.

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