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Connecting UK Youth to Employment via Innovative New Apprenticeship Scheme

By December 15, 2016 supports The Challenge’s New Step Forward IT Programme

Continuing our commitment to Workforce Development, is delighted to announce a grant of $100,000 to UK Social Integration Charity, The Challenge to support its Step Forward Salesforce IT apprenticeship programme. This one-year programme for Londoners aged 17-20 offers participants from diverse backgrounds the chance to develop in-demand IT skills, while benefitting from paid employment for 12 months, earning a nationally recognised qualification and Salesforce certification at the end of the programme.

Apprentice - The Challenge, Step Forward IT Salesforce program

In the UK, there is significant demand for IT related roles amongst young people with a growing number of employers looking to fill roles for new IT literate staff, which they are struggling to meet. According to TechCity, the UK’s technology sector has grown 32% faster than the wider economy and has created jobs 2.8 times faster than rest of the labour market.

Step Forward, who deliver apprenticeships across a range of sectors, launched their pilot Salesforce pathway in September 2016 and the programme will see 19 young people working across a wide range of employers, developing their IT and career skills, while giving them real work experience.They’ll also get hands-on experience working with Salesforce technology, including carrying out the Salesforce Admin-201 and Salesforce Dev-401 certifications. Each participant will also be connected to a Salesforce mentor to support them throughout their apprenticeship.

“In the UK, we are experiencing a significant technology skills gap which needs to be tackled head on. The Step Forward programme not only seeks to offer young people a pathway to an IT career, but also to shift perceptions that people in the UK have around apprenticeships. We are delighted to support The Challenge on this programme and believe that their holistic approach to skills and employability training will impact both the next generation of IT professionals and also shake up the sector’s thinking in terms of IT skills training,” said Charlotte Finn, VP Programs, EMEA.

“Working with allows us to easily connect a diverse group of young people from all backgrounds to a booming industry that will make them highly employable. Our apprentices will finish the programme with the skills, network and character for the best possible start to their career,” said Jon Yates, Head of Step Forward.

Feedback from participants in the pilot programme has been encouraging so far:

“The Step Forward programme is exciting because it gives me a chance to work with Salesforce, which is something I didn’t think I’d be able to do without a degree.  It’s also really great to interact with international teams all over the world,” said Jannelle Williams, Step Forward Salesforce Associate

“Because Salesforce is integrated into so many other applications, it’s opening up lots of opportunities for me, giving me transferable skills, and experience of the working world,” said D’shai Levale, Step Forward Salesforce Associate

The Challenge knows first hand the power of Salesforce technology and what it can mean for an organisation. Since it’s founding, The Challenge uses Salesforce across its organisation to improve productivity, streamline programme management and maximise efficiencies. Today the organisation is using Salesforce to power 95% of their operations across three programmes aimed at bringing different people together: NCS, Headstart and Step Forward.

Are you an employer interested in taking on a Salesforce apprentice in 2017? Find out more on