The Software Guild and sister company, mthree have launched Aspire 1000, a new scholarship program that gives free training to one thousand underrepresented new techies! The robust program offers skills training as well as thorough career support for graduates. But what makes this program so special is that it is completely free to accepted students! Rachel Green of The Software Guild and Piers Fox, Marketing Director of mthree, walk us through all the elements of the program, the teaching methodology, and why diversifying the tech pipeline is crucial to their mission.
What You Need to Know:
What is Aspire 1000?
Aspire 1000 is a completely free, 6-12 week, tutor-led online training program. mthree is sponsoring 1,000 students to receive this free training from The Software Guild (TSG). Students can choose between different pathways such as Software Development, Production Support, Business Services, Data Science, and Salesforce Administration. Training modules have been designed to cover the technical and professional skills that leading Fortune 500 companies need from graduates, helping people launch their careers in technology.
What is the learning style for this program?
The training is full-time and delivered completely online, instructor-led, in virtual classes with other grads. From the comfort of their own home, students will learn through presentations, individual assignments and group projects. What makes our training different is students learn new skills and immediately put them into practice in an environment aligned to the real world. Students complete the training with the basic practical skills required to start their career.
Is Aspire 1000 really free to students? What happens if a student doesn’t immediately get a job when they graduate?
Aspire 1000 students will never have to pay for anything. There are no unfair contracts or catches. There is no financial commitment to enroll, and there are no consequences if a student stops training and they are not tied into mthree or TSG. It will cost students nothing other than their time and effort.
What is the Software Guild’s intention for the scholarship program?
Our mission is to train 1,000 graduates from a range of backgrounds to help increase diversity, and bring equality into technology.
The technology workforce doesn’t reflect the diversity of the global population from race, to gender, to sexuality, and as an emerging training provider, we want to help. Along with our sister company, mthree, we want to break down barriers applicants face because they didn’t attend college, have the right technical degree/training, or because they don’t understand the corporate world, have a good interview technique or a well-written cover letter, or maybe because they don’t have the confidence to put themselves forward to opportunities.
Who is eligible for Aspire 1000? Is there an ideal candidate for this program?
Candidates will need a degree in any subject from any university or community college. Keep in mind that we are not focusing on the prestige of the institution a student attended, just their potential to succeed and their ability to prove they have what it takes.
We are looking for candidates from underrepresented groups, groups that often aren’t reflected in the diversity of tech workplaces such as but not limited to: women, minority race groups, and members of the LGBTQ community. Candidates will not be required to have a degree in computer science, maths, technology or engineering.
An ideal candidate will have excellent communication and problem-solving skills. Every trainee will also need to show they’re committed to support all colleagues from different backgrounds by signing our diversity pledge. Once accepted, our students will need to be available to train for 6-12 weeks (depending on the pathway), Monday through Friday from 8:30AM-5:30PM. Students will need a basic IT set-up, such as a laptop or PC, webcam, microphone, and reliable Wi-Fi.
What is the application process for the Aspire 1000 Program?
The application process starts by applying on mthree’s website. If you meet the requirements, you will have an initial online aptitude test, followed by a telephone interview, and then an automated final video interview. The interviews and online assessment focus on your communication and problem-solving skills as well as your passion to work in tech. Depending on the pathway chosen, there may be further technical tests to assess ability.
Do applicants need to know how to code before applying for the Aspire 1000 Program?
For the software development pathway the applicants should be able to demonstrate basic competence in writing code in any OOP language.
What will Aspire 1000 students learn in the program?
The training will cover the technical and soft skills required to work in Software Development, Production Support, Data Science, Business Services, or Salesforce Administration.
Our program provides the training and professional development so that graduates can hit the ground running from day one. The online training will be taught by The Software Guild’s expert instructors and will include individual study and group projects with other trainees.
As an example, over the 8 weeks of the software development track, students will learn how to design, develop, and test a Java application in a corporate technology environment.
One week is spent on professional development, business skills, ITIL (event, problem, change ,management cycle), monitoring, and best practices.
Four weeks are spent on core Java, object oriented programming principles, console and file I/O, and Java testing frameworks.
Three weeks are dedicated to project work. Students will design, build, and test a Java application. Students will also implement support for monitoring, troubleshooting, and production management of the application.
Who are the instructors and/or mentors for this program?
The same instructors that have taught The Software Guild’s top-rated coding bootcamps and online badge program will be providing the training for Aspire 1000. Our instructors have an average of 10+ years of industry experience.
The key here is our diversified teaching strategy. Different learning techniques, such as presentations, assignments, and projects keep things fresh and engaging for all learners. Plus, all of our training is tutor-led, which means trainers are on hand to offer additional support when needed. This ensures that all of our students learn at their own pace. Students will also be learning as a group, discussing topics and supporting each other. For students with specific learning requirements due to a disability, we are happy to discuss learning accommodations during the application process.
How does Aspire 1000 prepare students for the job hunt?
Career support is an essential part of Aspire 1000 to ensure that all students can land their dream tech role. Throughout the program, students will work with experienced career services professionals to create an impressive CV and cover letter, practice interviewing, and learn how to navigate a career in the technology sector. They will have the chance to attend workshops on these topics, as well as work 1-on-1 with staff to ensure they are ready for not only the interview, but the workplace as well.
Our network of more than 450 employers is available to every Aspire 1000 graduate. Through this network, students and graduates can forge valuable connections, learn about upcoming roles, and advance their careers. Our network includes some of the world’s largest investment banks as well as other Fortune 500 companies.
What types of roles are Software Guild graduates qualified for at mthree partner companies?
Depending on a student’s training pathway, Aspire 1000 will help open doors to roles such as: Junior Software Developer, Production Support Analyst, Business Services, Data Science Analyst, and Salesforce Administrator.
How do you expect this program to increase diversity in tech?
Graduate careers in technology are often restricted to those with STEM and computer science degrees from specific colleges. This barrier can stop great people with huge potential from getting a foot in the door, contributing to a non-diverse tech workforce. As a training and careers provider, we asked ourselves, what can we do to help people from underrepresented groups start careers in tech? By removing traditional entry requirements and focusing on passion and potential, a greater number of people from more varied backgrounds will have the opportunity to apply.
We are cutting down barriers so that individuals from underrepresented groups can land a role in tech. We work with organizations that understand having a diverse tech workforce is the way that they will succeed. Our trainees are the way to make that happen.
A lot of potential bootcampers may be worried about the job market when they graduate from a bootcamp right now – what’s your advice to them?
Whatever you’d like to achieve in your career, it starts with learning and hard work.
It’s no doubt that the jobs market and economy has taken a hit this year, but organizations need ambitious graduates to help them rebound and adapt to the changing world. One of the ways organizations are doing this is by building better technology. By learning practical technical skills, you can play a part in their success and build your own long-term successful career.
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