Fishing skills

Atos’ Cloudreach launches US Talent Academy as IT skills gap is at ‘crisis point’

After seeing so many requests for its training program, Cloudreach, which French IT services giant Atos officially acquired last January, expanded its Talent Academy to the United States last week.

“The skills gap is just insane, it’s reaching crisis point,” Poonam Flammarion, head of Cloudreach’s Talent Academy, told CRN.

The inaugural cohort of the Talent Academy, which partners with Amazon Web Services (AWS), began in late 2021, and many graduates are now working as associate cloud systems developers at London-based cloud computing consultancy Cloudreach. Many members of the training program had no formal training and had varied work experiences. Those with some technology background had little or no experience working in cloud technology.

“We interviewed people from all kinds of different backgrounds and we’re looking for that growth mindset,” Flammarion said. “We are constantly looking to evolve because we know we have the demand in terms of customer demand. And the talent is there. »

There is an endless demand for security and cloud skills, she added.

“We are looking to massively grow our professional services team, especially with the acquisition of ATO,” she said. “There’s no way to find that many experienced people ready to go, so this is a longer-term talent strategy, but it’s an absolutely necessary strategy.”

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The two-year program sees new recruits spend the first 10 weeks in a classroom setting. After the 10 weeks, they then move on to client engagements. Over the course of two years, new recruits receive special support and benefit from regular interviews.

“We have a bonus specifically designed for them so that when they hit their workout goals, we can give them a bonus, so it’s kind of instant recognition,” she said.

They are employed full-time from day one. After the two-year period, they are usually promoted to the next level.

“When you change industries and start from scratch, we want them to stay with Cloudreach, so we want to make sure they’re there for the longer term,” she said.

The Talent Academy in North America, which started in Atlanta, had over 600 applicants. Only 20 are selected per cohort.

Flammarion said it’s not just about developing existing talent, but developing new talent.

“Let’s not continue to fish in the same pool,” she said. “We need to increase the size of the pool.”

And as she increased that pool, she realized that diversity in tech “is pretty bad.”

Program participants do not need to have a technology background, it is part of Cloudreach’s efforts to increase its diversity, equity and inclusion.

“That’s where the conversation is at Cloudreach. How can we do something meaningful?” she said. “Yes, we need to build more skills, but as a corporate citizen, what do we want to change? ?”

She said that with the North American program, 50% of applicants were women, as Cloudreach reached out to different organizations and nonprofit groups to expand their reach to attract people from different backgrounds.

“I had heard about the opportunities in cloud technology, but realized there weren’t a lot of young women of color in the industry,” said Esther Awolesi, a program participant. “I wanted to change that and be part of the growing statistic. I did a few bootcamps before joining Cloudreach but realized I didn’t know the basics until after I finished them. Cloudreach taught us the technologies and skills that we would use on real projects. Cloudreach took a chance on people, and it was very successful.

There’s also a lot of demand for people with security experience, but they’re hard to find, Flammarion said.

“Experience is the key word,” she said. “It is very difficult to find experienced security and cloud talent. You can’t just create experience overnight, over a week, over a year, but we have to create space for that talent and take our people to the next level.