Cloudreach hosted its Talent Academy launch event on Monday, November 8th to celebrate the induction of its first cohort of trainees. The event, which took place at Cloudreach’s London HQ, saw the first 20 trainees welcomed into the Cloudreach community. It provided an opportunity to introduce them to Cloudreachers including the leadership team, and celebrate the launch of this exciting new initiative.
The Talent Academy is a result of more than 18 months’ collaboration with AWS and represents both organisations’ commitments to diversity, equality and inclusion – as well as addressing the industry skills gap.
The event was hosted by Cloudreach CEO Brooks Borcherding, Chief People Officer Tara Tapper, and Poonam Flammarion, Head of Talent Academy, who introduced and welcomed the new academy trainees and took time to hear about their experiences first-hand. The event provided the perfect forum to hear the stories of the first cohort, as they explained the inspiring journeys they have been on to get to this point. Brooks Borcherding described the initiative as “the most meaningful thing I’ve done in my career.“
Among the first trainees were Esther Awolesi, Mia Thomas and Mahamed Abdullahi, Tyrone Compton, Ayo Agara and Elvia Sicuro, all now Associate Cloud Systems Developers at Cloudreach. Many of the first cohort do not have traditional technical backgrounds and are seeking to retrain after careers in other industries.
Before joining the Talent Academy, Elvia Sicuro worked as an online marketing manager within the travel industry. “I don’t come from a technical background,” she explained. “I lost my job during lockdown and took the opportunity to get more into programming and decided to try and start a career in tech. I suffered a lot of rejection due to not having any tech experience, this was before I found support in the WomenTechMakers community in Berlin where I had my first introduction to cloud computing. At the same time, a friend of mine who’s a Cloudreacher told me about the Talent Academy programme and I decided to apply. Cloudreach is giving us a unique and unbeatable opportunity to learn and get experience in a professional environment.
Mia Thomas added that; “Before joining the talent academy, I worked in social housing but during lockdown I wanted to do something different. Whilst researching different careers, I discovered a number of women in tech blogs that inspired me to find a career in tech. I found the AWS re/Start programme but couldn’t afford to give up my job and take on an unpaid three month internship. Instead, I woke up at 5.30am every morning and studied until 9am, then completed my working day and studied in the evenings. I obtained my Cloud Practitioner certification and I’m now comfortable writing Python and Bash Scripts and navigating around the command line. Soon after I found the Talent Academy via LinkedIn and I knew I had to apply. I updated my CV that evening and applied as soon as I could. “
Esther Awolesi was impressed by Cloudreach’s mission to improve diversity and inclusion in the tech industry; “Once I found out about the Cloudreach Talent Academy, I knew I wanted to apply. I felt that I shared the same values of the company. With its big push on diversity and inclusion, I felt it would be a great fit for me, as I want to challenge the narrative surrounding the typical tech workforce. Before the Talent Academy, I had completed the AWS re/Start program and gained my Cloud Practitioner certification, so the strategic collaborative agreement between AWS and Cloudreach meant that applying for the role of an Associate Cloud Systems Developer was the best possible move I could make in my career.”
Other Talent Academy trainees are upskilling from careers in technology and telecoms. Mahamed Abdullahi is one such trainee. He explained that he had always been involved with the world of tech ever since university. “I come from a network security background and I’m quite advanced in this area. The reason I joined the Talent Academy is because I have some understanding of the cloud in theory but no experience. I have my solution architect certificate but I’ve been looking for more progression in my career and I didn’t want to get left behind. Cloudreach helps you out with your development, while other companies offer intense three month courses, and then leave it at that. With Cloudreach, you get the experience and the knowledge over the course of two years.”
Ayo Agara is also upskilling from a career in telecoms. “My work experience had always been in telecoms in technologies like Wave IP, Radwin Ip and Mikrotik and others, but I felt that this technology is becoming outdated. I have always wanted to be a problem solver for people and businesses, and this is the reason for me switching to the cloud. I had offers from other companies, but they were all telecoms roles. I decided to join the Talent Academy because Cloudreach were offering hands-on experience and mentorship which I didn’t get anywhere else.”
Many of the cohort had completed some bootcamps and certifications, but still found it hard to break into the industry. Tyrone Compton explained; “I come from a tech background, and have been working as a web developer for the past few years. I completed a short coding bootcamp but at the end of it, they hand you a certificate, say ‘good luck’ and send you on your way. This is why the Talent Academy programme really stood out to me – the two year programme is designed to prepare you fully for a career in the cloud.
Closing the skills gap
Chief People Officer, Tara Tapper noted that the project is “a vital part of our mission to set the standard for diverse and inclusive communities within the industry. Closing the skills gap via this type of program is hugely important to Cloudreach and we are proud of the progress our first cohort is already making”.
The first cohort is now onboarded to their two-year course, where they will work in customer engagements, building depth and breadth of knowledge in a variety of cloud technologies.
Poonam Flammarion, Head of Talent Academy, said, “the people in this room are committed to working towards ensuring that your space is a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment as we start this journey in creating a more equitable industry”.