One in 10 tech companies face an existential crisis driven by a massive skills gap. This leaves companies desperate for skilled professionals and stranded with a talent pool that can’t match demand.

Through the Talent Academy, a program Cloudreach created in partnership with AWS, we provide underrepresented people the training they need to succeed in a cloud career – no prior experience required. 

On September 15th we hosted the launch event for our 4th cohort in Berlin.

Members of the Cloudreach Leadership team were joined by guests from AWS and Atos to celebrate this exciting and important milestone.

The trainees were welcomed into their new journey and were invited to share their own personal stories. Attendees heard first hand the adversity and challenges trainees have faced in not just getting into the tech industry, but how their personal backgrounds influenced their journeys.    

The Talent Academy is a core pillar of the Strategic Collaboration Agreement between AWS and Cloudreach.

It is a product of over 18 months of collaboration with AWS to establish a Strategic Collaboration Agreement, and represents both Cloudreach and AWS commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and addressing the industry skills gap.

During the event in Berlin, our regional Cloudreach GM, Bernd Kroning, opened with a welcome to all guests. Tara Tapper, COO at Cloudreach, hosted a panel discussion alongside Nicole Squires, AWS Partner Enablement Manager for Atos, Karl-Heinz Schmid, Head of AWS Siemens Global team, Brooks Borcherding, CEO Cloudreach, and Clay Van Doren, CEO Central Europe Atos.

The conversation focused on how removing barriers for diverse talent not only opens up opportunities for underrepresented demographics, but also delivers more diverse and innovative solutions for customers.   

Continuing the conversation on DE&I, Poonam Flammarion, Head of Talent Academy was joined by Birgit Kobl, Head of Partnerships from ReDI, where they gave us an insight into the importance of partnerships with non for profits like ReDi for tech companies as they navigate the attraction of diverse talent. 

Brooks Borcherding, CEO Cloudreach, noted;

“It’s been an amazing journey since the inception of our Talent Academy concept just over 18 months ago. Our initial blueprint for the Academy was to address the lack of gender diversity in the United Kingdom, our HQ and core market. Ironically at the time we were a ‘market leader’ with 24% female employees relative to the 17% average in the UK IT industry, but honestly that really pissed us off and we decided to invest and manage our own change which led to our first Talent Academy team. Now, just 10 months later we have launched our 4th cohort in Berlin following on the heels of Atlanta and Pune.

Why Germany? Because the DACH market has significant structural barriers to diversity and equality which we must overcome as an industry in order to grow and Germany is the economic growth engine for Western Europe. In just 18 months we are experiencing first hand how one company, Cloudreach, can lead an industry by example and make material change to the make-up of our teams in Pune, Berlin, London and Atlanta. I could not be prouder of what the teams have achieved and excited to take this initiative to the #nextlevel in the year ahead.”

ReDI School offers digital and tech education to break down barriers and connect students to the labor market.

The students who come through the doors at ReDI, both in-person and virtually, are from a wealth of backgrounds. Many are new to Germany and have not previously had access to digital education.

ReDI focuses not only on ensuring they have the skills they need but also nurtures students by providing help and advice on where to find employment and soft skills, such as writing cover letters and preparing for interviews.  

According to Poonam Flammarion, Head of Talent Academy:

“The tech industry is at a crossroads, where we can no longer make short term fixes for the skills gap. When we think of talent and the brightest minds who make us best in class, we do not always conjure up images of Women or a wide diversity of demographics. And that needs to change. The academy has proved again and again that capability is not an issue, but the barriers to reaching your most authentic and most capable self is. Focusing on DE&I and making a cultural shift in the way we attract, retain and nurture employees is the key to tackling these problems.”    

Maureen Lonergan, Vice President, AWS Training and Certification, added:

“Organizations need individuals with cloud skills to help transform their business, and there is a growing demand for IT professionals with AWS Cloud skills. AWS Training and Certification, along with our AWS Training Partners like Cloudreach, aims to equip the builders of today and tomorrow with the knowledge they need to leverage the power of the AWS Cloud. AWS Training, designed by the experts at AWS, teaches in-demand cloud skills and best practices, and helps learners prepare for AWS Certification exams so they can advance their careers and transform their organizations.”

Rounding off the event, Clay Van Doren raised a toast to the cohort and to the exciting future of the Cloudreach, Atos and AWS partnership.  

Here are a few personal stories Talent Academy trainees shared during the event: 

Rima AlhamwiI’m originally from Syria. I graduated from the Institute of Computer Engineering and then I had my Bachelor in Computer & Information Systems and I worked in a telecommunication company in Syria. After the war started in my country, I came to Germany with a new language and a new culture.

I had several non-technical jobs but decided to pursue my passion in tech with the help of the ReDi School, where I had the opportunity to learn technical skills like Python and Data Analytics.

The experience of the assessment day at Cloudreach made me realize this was the place for me. I want to thank Cloudreach for investing in me and I want to succeed in this challenge to succeed in front of Cloudreach.”

Miko Meller – “A lot of my work has been in youth educational programs to prepare them for the digital world, and a lot of these kids didn’t always have the best start in life, they were from diverse backgrounds or had difficulties trying to navigate the world around them.

Which is why I joined the Talent Academy, so that I can build on my own skills to help future proof the next generation with new technologies and to also show them no matter where you are in life, you can adapt, start something new and make the world a better place around you”

Klesta Toti – “I finished my Master studies in Informatics specialized in Information systems and through these years I can proudly say that I have worked in a number of enterprise organizations and research institutes but unfortunately, none of those made me feel motivated and valued. Until one day I met a friend who is currently working for Cloudreach and she told me of her experience. I was so drawn to it that I couldn’t help but send the application. The Talent Academy has been such an exceptional experience. I am looking forward to contributing and growing more and more in the Cloud.”

The Talent Academy, now in its 4th cohort, continues to drive its mission of diversifying the talent pool and creating safe, inclusive environments where that talent can thrive. Partnerships such as those with ReDI help us hone in closer to that mission.