Starting up a business in the middle of a global pandemic is a challenge in itself, but that’s exactly what the team at School of Automation (SOA) did in 2020.
One year on, SOA has gone from strength to strength; not only building the business up and expanding but ensuring young apprentices are successfully starting their careers in the ever-growing and exciting world of process automation.
There is so much demand for automation solutions and SOA really is on a mission to bridge the skills gap that is holding back businesses from embarking on their digital transformation projects.
From August 2020 to now…
Last summer SOA started life with an office in Glasgow (albeit with most staff working remotely!) and the beginnings of an apprenticeship course with the first candidates about to embark on their journey in automation, all while building partnerships and relationships with customers and process automation experts including UiPath and IBM.
Fast forward to August 2021 and SOA has some amazing things to shout about:
There’s now a team of 20 staff with offices in both Glasgow and Dublin
Many of the apprentices worked on live customer automation projects including Costain, Autorama, Northumbrian Water, Morgan Sindall and more.
A pilot programme in Ireland launched and now the group will transition to a Traineeship with Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board(ETB) with another planned for 2022
In October 2021, SOA will be employing 9 Robotic Process Developers through the UK Gov Kickstart Scheme
But don’t take SOA’s word for it, here are some comments from the first group of recruits and SOA staff on this first year:
“My time at SOA has been great. This journey this was not what I expected it to be - I thought
my job would just be coding, but that was not the case at all. Working at SOA allowed me to work with different people and different projects which kind of meant every day is a new day with new things to work on, new problems to solve and new things to learn.” - Wayne Ncube
“My journey with the School of Automation has been nothing short of life changing. In the past year, I have worked with industry giants, providing automation to suit their needs and the skills I needed to produce this were all provided by the School of Automation. I've gained skills and experience with the School of Automation that will be able to serve me for the rest of my career.” - Jared Dunachie
“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
was made redundant due to the pandemic and managed to secure my role at SOA as a Training & Development Manger to the first team of Apprentice RPA Developers. This was an exciting opportunity as SOA had just started. I would also be getting in at the beginning and helping them to grow and growing with them. RPA was new to me as I am not IT Savvy in coding, so I had a lot of learning to do which was provided by all the friendly Tech Leads and the apprentices. I have worked within training organisations and my own training company for many years, but this must be one of the best career opportunities I have seen both for myself and the Apprentices.” - Julie Scott
“What a difference a year makes. Being a part of a company that not only actually cares about its employees and apprentices but invests in their future is something which fills me with pride. Seeing the difference, we can make in people’s lives has really opened my eyes to so many new things. Working in this team has taught me a new set of skills and has let me use my years of experience. Our work is vital; giving people opportunity and helping them shape their own future is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve had, moving into the future, I am excited and cannot wait for the challenges that lie ahead.” - Natalie Bryce
And finally, a few words from our CEO, Marc Cooper
“We are absolutely delighted to be one year on and have a team of
20 with an office in Glasgow and Dublin. Our team have been brilliant over what has been an extremely difficult year in terms of remote working and still managing to keep positive and work effectively. We are and continue to create a healthy eco system of talent for the Process Automation industry where our developers can have exciting new careers and long-term futures.
“It’s so important to enjoy the journey, no matter how challenging things get you have to find those moments when we sit back and say that’s why we do what we do. The most significant of them all has got to be creating career opportunities for other people. When we look at the impact COVID has had on businesses and unemployment we are delighted and proud of what are doing to create careers in a growth sector. To be able to train people and give them new skills to have a career and then watch them develop is truly rewarding. We have taken some young people on a journey that I don’t believe would have been possible for them due to circumstances and given them opportunities to become fantastic developers and start to build a career for themselves. I really enjoy spending time with them in the office and seeing them grow, from when they first engaged with us to where they are now, I know we are making a difference to them and their lives.
“A huge thank you to everyone involved in getting SOA to where it is today, there have been many people involved at various points of the journey and I thank you for your contributions. It is invaluable to surround yourself with good people and those who believe in our vision. We look forward to continuing working with you and are excited about the year ahead.”