'I'm glad I took a leap of faith': pioneering tech school hails first wave of grads

“Everyone has played a part in how we will be able to help shape and evolve the programme.”

A fintech school set up to help plug the “acute” skills and recruitment challenge for tech firms is celebrating the first wave of graduates, and now set to recruit its next cohort.

Dundee-based financial services company Embark (part of Lloyds Banking Group) saw its specialist training facility, known as The Tech School, and located in West Marketgait, recruit graduates and career-changers into junior software developer roles in November, and the 11 participants are nearing the end of their bespoke course and are set to move into permanent software engineer roles.

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Embark now has plans to recruit a new cohort for the intensive training and development course. The school is part of a wider initiative started in 2020 that aims to bring 150 new jobs to Dundee supported by Scottish Enterprise, and was created amid a perceived gap in the market, saying one in ten new job openings in the UK technology-related. It follows the recent news that Scottish digital skills academy CodeClan is returning.

The Tech School is led by Rose Ulldemolins, who says: 'It's been amazing seeing how everyone has gone from their first day to here.' Picture: Lisa Ferguson.The Tech School is led by Rose Ulldemolins, who says: 'It's been amazing seeing how everyone has gone from their first day to here.' Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
The Tech School is led by Rose Ulldemolins, who says: 'It's been amazing seeing how everyone has gone from their first day to here.' Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

The Tech School is led by Rose Ulldemolins, who built her career in technology at Lloyds after reskilling as a software engineer. She said: “It's been amazing seeing how everyone has gone from their first day to here, and how the experiences they have all had as individuals and as a group have made such a positive impact at different levels. I'm extremely proud of their commitment, and everyone has played a part in how we will be able to help shape and evolve the programme.”

She has previously outlined how she is keen for tech to be open to people from all corners of society, and said: “I'm a strong believer that anyone can learn to programme, anyone can learn tech, as long as they've got the right support.”

One of the first group of Tech School “graduates”, Gemma Grant, was working in retail part time while studying and spotted the opportunity to join the Tech School programme. She said: “I was debating going back to university to do a masters and when I saw the description of the training and what the roles were about, I took a leap of faith, jumped at the chance, and am so glad that I did.”

Toby Keech joined the initiative as a sport and exercise science graduate who had been working as a personal trainer. He said: “I was looking for a new way to learn and challenge myself, and felt that even though I wasn’t from a technology background, bringing a different perspective was really valued, and we were being trained by experts that were able to get the best out of all of us.”

Jackie Leiper, chief executive of Embark Group, which became part of Lloyds Banking Group in 2022, said: “Dundee is the heart of digital development – not just in Scotland but worldwide, and we want to build homegrown capability at the heart of our business to help us create the kind of experience and products that our customers want by tapping into different types of skillsets.”

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