Amid the hand-wringing about whether the UK’s education system is equipping young Britons with skills in software and other areas, tech companies are stepping into the breach.

As Andy Bounds writes, mid-sized tech businesses are unusually active in hiring and training apprentices — even after a new government levy prompted other companies to scale back their activity on that front.

Among them is data hosting business UKFast, which spends more than £1m of its roughly £40m turnover on apprentices and school partnerships. It pays off in reduced recruitment costs, says chief executive Lawrence Jones (pictured above), because of the additional loyalty from employees who enter through these training schemes.

Another example is Sheffield-based data technology group WANdisco, whose chief executive says that school leavers often learn computing skills more quickly than graduates.

These tech companies strike a sharp contrast with the broader trend across all industries: in the six months to February, new apprenticeships were down 25 per cent year on year.

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Xiaomi’s $1.1bn quarterly loss 
Ahead of its hotly anticipated public listing, Xiaomi gave investors an update on its financials, writes Louise Lucas in Hong Kong. It continues to burn cash apace, with a quarterly net loss of Rmb7bn ($1.1bn).

Martin Sorrell’s downfall: why the ad king left WPP
The FT has interviewed more than 25 people who worked closely with the former boss of the world’s largest marketing and communications group. What is revealed is a tangled web of boardroom intrigue and explosive allegations.

Uber brand officer departs 
Almost exactly a year after she was hired to rebuild Uber’s battered brand, Bozomo Saint John is moving on, writes Richard Waters in San Francisco. Ms Saint John, who was hired by Travis Kalanick soon before he was ousted as chief executive, has moved to talent management group Endeavour.

Scooter start-up chases funding 
Bird Rides, a scooter sharing start-up, is already in talks about a new $200m funding round, writes Tim Bradshaw in Los Angeles. The company — barely a year old — has already raised $250m so far this year.

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Mark Zuckerberg can’t innovate 
“Senator, we sell ads,” Facebook’s founder laconically told a lawmaker who had asked about its business model during congressional hearings in April. To James Williams, writing in Wired UK, the exchange highlighted Zuckerberg’s “ostrich-headed reluctance” to look at new strategic directions for his company.

Tracking athletes’ brainwaves
 US start-up deCervo is developing technology that can track neural activity in the brains of baseball players, writes Zach Schonbrun in Fast Company. Half a dozen Major League Baseball teams are already working with it, and the technology looks set for wider adoption. “But pivotal questions still remain: Who owns this data? And how should it be used?”

Tech tools you can use — Apple’s app limits

More than a decade after people began suffering from iPhone addiction, its creator has promised a remedy. Apple says the next version of the device’s operating system, to be launched later this year, will feature an option to put time limits on specific apps. San Francisco-based correspondents Leslie Hook and Tim Bradshaw discuss the subject in this FT podcast.



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