Keytree is running its first graduate training programme, with six graduates working under the tutelage of Rebecca Bennett, Keytree’s Head of Human Resources and specialist training consultant, Jen Jones.

The six-month programme aims to provide the graduates with the skills, tools, and knowledge to become future leaders in software development and user experience. The programme will also cultivate their growth as young professionals, with regular support and expert guidance provided by their team of mentors.

The primary goal is to help the group become well-rounded, skilled professionals, teaching not only the technical skills required to be a leading developer but also creative thinking, presentation techniques, communication, financial management, delivery principles and methods.

Learning from the start

The group has been tasked to develop a web-responsive employee feedback application to be used by Keytree management and employees. Technical guidance is readily available from James Woodhouse, Keytree’s COO and Mark Williment, Head of Technology – who both act as clients, providing the graduates with a real-world experience of developing and managing projects for paying customers.

The in-depth technical training includes Java, Spring, JS React, SuccessFactors, S/4 HANA, and SAP Cloud Platform – all cornerstones of Keytree’s business and expertise. The graduates are incorporating Agile methodology and Scrum practices, using Confluence for documentation, Jira to organise sprints, TeamCity for continuous integration, and Cucumber for testing.

Hearing from the graduates

Graduate Carmina Matias who has a Computer Science BSc from the University of West London said: “From the moment I joined Keytree, I had so many things to learn in terms of communication, teamwork, design, software development processes, new languages and tools. Having the opportunity to collaborate with talented colleagues with years of experience is motivating me to challenge myself more and providing me with the opportunity for significant career and personal development.”

Graduate Alex Worrall, who has a Mathematics BSC from Durham University, added: “Working at Keytree has been a thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable experience so far. I’m relatively new to programming, having taken it up as a hobby after graduating. My plan and hope now is that this scheme will take my interest to the next level and provide me with the perfect platform for a career in software development.”

“We are a large organisation now with over 350 employees but a family atmosphere is in the company’s DNA and that will never change. So to be able to bring in young talent and support their careers from the very beginning is important to us”

James Woodhouse – COO Keytree

Keytree management including founders, Dan McNamara, Tim Kyle, Anthony Aughterson and COO James Woodhouse are passionate about nurturing and developing young, emerging talent and passing on what they have learned from their combined 60+ years in the industry. Committed to the long-term development of the graduate programme, James Woodhouse commented: “We are a large organisation now with over 350 employees but a family atmosphere is in the company’s DNA and that will never change. So to be able to bring in young talent and support their careers from the very beginning is important to us. No doubt, in the not too distant future, some of these young developers will be leaders in their fields in an industry that has been very good to us all and which we are still excited to be involved with after all these years.”

Keytree sourced potential graduates by reaching out to UK universities and using social media channels at the start of 2017. Shortlisted applicants were invited to participate in an assessment day in June 2017 at Keytree’s head office in Covent Garden – followed by a second interview, which included a presentation to company directors. The successful candidates were notified shortly after and joined the company at the beginning of October 2017. The recruitment process for the next intake of graduates will begin in Q1 2018.

Rebecca Bennett added: “Judging from the evident camaraderie in the group and the smiles on their faces, they are enjoying the experience as much as we are.”

Alexandra Pittman

Digital media development, University of Brighton

Alex Worrall

BSc Mathematics, Durham University

Carmina Matias

BSc Computer Science, University of West London

Rob Bettison

BSc Mathematics & Computer Science, Bristol University

Thomas Howard

MSci Physics, University of Nottingham

Umar Ghari

BSc Computer Science, University of Leicester

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