Kickstarting careers with Youwe University

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Discovering a career that you love can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. But there may be setbacks along the way. And you’ll also need to find the right training to put you on the path to your dream job.

In short, things can get challenging.

That’s why Youwe has launched Youwe University, teaming up with ITPH Academy to establish and nurture a new pool of capable developers. It’s a way to give back to the community, and provide young talent with the opportunity to forge a new career.

Doing things differently

“We knew we had to do something different,” says Anneloes van der Wal, the HR director at Youwe. “We’re always looking for new growth opportunities, creating a path that will lead us in the right direction. Nurturing and educating talent and offering them a great career opportunity is one of the core values for Youwe.

"We recruit around 80 developers every year. Many are PHP specialists, but they also need to understand the intricacies of Magento. And they need to fit in with our company culture, too. That’s a key focus for us. We’re hiring people from all over the world, with 30 different nationalities currently working for us. It’s superb, but it also gives you an insight into how hard it can be to find the right people.”

Initiated by Youwe founder and CEO, Rob Wiek, Youwe University not only provides Youwe with access to the junior developers they need, it also helps job seekers to kick-start their professional careers. On successful completion of the seven-month bootcamp, students receive a recognized IT diploma as well as employment within the digital agency.

A partnership built on progression

Working in partnership with ITPH Academy, an IT talent training company based in the Netherlands, Youwe also views its university initiative as a way to give something back to society. Plus, the program is open to other digital agencies, which helps to improve the e-commerce industry as a whole.

“Youwe University truly is a great achievement,” says Bas Kelder, Project Manager, ITPH Academy, “and it’s one that I’m thrilled to be involved with. When Youwe came to us, we knew we were able to create the perfect match.

"We search for out-of-work candidates to join the program. Most don’t have any IT training, but they need to have the right background, usually a science-related education. They also need to be enthusiastic and motivated to join the program. They’ll sit an assessment to make sure they have what it takes, and they also meet the digital agency. If everything goes well, then we get things underway. The end goal is to place them in the role of a PHP developer, at a junior level. From there, a whole new career can open up for them.”

Training, exams and meeting the Youwe team

The seven-month bootcamp involves 40 hours of training every week, online and also at a physical location in Rotterdam. There are exams along the way, as well as the opportunity to build something in PHP and present it.

But Youwe University is not just about being in school for seven months. There are onboarding days, where the participants get to meet members of the Youwe teams that they’ll be working with. Masterclasses are also planned into the schedule. These are led by Youwe’s senior developers and managers, who present on aspects of their work, as well as wider digital marketing subjects and hot industry topics.

Dream big and make a difference

“We’re always looking out for ways that we can improve,” says Anneloes. “At Youwe, we dream big and we start small. It’s great to be the frontrunner in an initiative like this. It’s something we’ve been dreaming about for a while and it looks like it will be the success that we’ve been hoping for. Not just for Youwe, but for other agencies that come onboard, and the wider community.”

Youwe University opened its doors for the first time in May of this year, welcoming nine students onto the course, aged between 25 and 35. Two additional agencies were also invited to get involved with this first intake. Moving forward, there are plans to run several bootcamps every year, with at least 10 to 20 new junior starters at Youwe every year through the program.

“So far, so good,” says Bas. "We're helping people step into a new career after a period of being out of work, and that means a lot to me. It really is something worthwhile. One of our goals is to find more digital agencies in the Netherlands who will join the Youwe program, building momentum and changing the lives of more people.”

For more information about Youwe University and to watch how things progress, keep an eye on Youwe’s Careers Site and LinkedIn feeds. We’ll be sure to introduce the participants to you and share their progress, as well as announce the upcoming bootcamps and how you can register your interest in attending.