Guest Blog: Harvey Nash NextGen / Cookie Crunchers
As many of you know, I am passionate about bringing more people into the technology sector. One very important route to this is cross training, and I’m proud that Nash Squared has a long history of taking talent from outside the sector and giving them the skills to build a successful career in tech.
In this week’s blog we hear from two Nash Squared leaders very experienced in what we call ‘Hire, Train, Deploy’.
Jeroen Fries, MD of our Talent-IT business in Belgium, has been successfully delivering this solution for over a decade through the brand Cookie Crunchers.
Newer to our business is Robin MacDonald, Director of Harvey Nash NextGen, who joined us earlier this year and is successfully applying this model to the UK.
It’s an exciting area, and below we ask a few questions of both Jeroen and Robin to find out more about what they are doing.
Have a great day,
How did the Hire, Train, Deploy model begin?
Jeroen: The concept originally started with training and placing candidates in "old school" technologies, such as Cobol and RPG, which are not taught at schools and universities anymore, while many large blue-chip companies in Belgium still run their core business on a mainframe or midrange.
It was a real success, and has now grown into a very wide range of functions and technologies, such as testing, Microsoft & Java development, SAP, cyber security, DevOps, Project managers and many other functional domains. We have therefore developed a large network of trainers because the quality of the training is a key element for success! Hire for attitude, train for skills is our message.
Robin: My journey in cross training actually began with my own career. I originally trained as a lawyer but I soon realized that my career and skill set were not aligned with the contracts department of a corporate law firm. Leveraging some of the skills I acquired in law school, such as presentation and negotiation, I transitioned into a sales role.
This was my first experience of cross-training and when I began to work in the technology recruitment sector, I quickly realised cross-training was very possible in technology too. This led to me building a number of businesses focused on this area, culminating in launching Harvey Nash NextGen.
Organisations are really struggling to find the right talent and cross training has increasingly become a valuable way to find diverse, strong technology skills.
How have you branded your service lines?
Jeroen: We started our service line as ‘Junior classes’, but that later evolved into ‘Cookie Cruchers’. Cookie Crunchers can I hear you thinking? Why would you do that? Because finding candidates under the name Junior Classes was difficult, at schools and job fairs they passed by our stand, apparently this was not attractive enough for candidates. After the name change, we are now one of the most popular hang outs at these job and school fairs.
Robin: Harvey Nash NextGen is all about developing the next generation of talent, with a particular focus on diversity. As a complimentary service under the Harvey Nash brand, we can speak to our clients about their challenges and provide holistic approach to developing talent solutions for them. NextGen provides a sticky long-term solution and is extremely relevant to those we’re already working closely with.
What value does it give your business?
Jeroen: The concept of hire-train-deploy is a very rewarding business. We have a seat at the table with our customers because we solve their long term staffing needs, but above all the gratitude of our candidates is fantastic.
We launch their IT career, and we realize their dreams. And how cool is it, recently I sat down with a client to discuss a new junior program, a client who started as a junior himself 9 years ago and now has a responsible function within a multinational. They haven't forgotten us!
In Belgium we are now the reference when it comes to hire-train-deploy projects, but in the meantime our concept is also taking international shape with some projects in Germany and in Holland and of course with the launch of Harvey Nash NextGen.
Robin: The power of Harvey Nash NextGen is that it gives us a unique way to develop and support gender, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity in technology. Clients love it, but equally so do the people taking part in our programmes.
At NextGen, we are deeply passionate about skills, diversity, and adapting to the challenges of the market economy. I am eagerly looking forward to collaborating with everyone across Harvey Nash to support this new mission. Together, we can make a real difference and contribute to a stronger, more inclusive tech industry.
Find out more:
Cookie Crunchers: email@example.com
Harvey Nash NextGen: firstname.lastname@example.org