Multiverse co-founder Euan Blair, son of former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, announced a partnership with Verizon on Thursday to develop a pilot apprenticeship program that will build skills and provide an equitable pathway to a career in tech.
Multiverse set its sights on expanding into the U.S. after receiving regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Labor; the company plans to scale over the next year to include other tech and digital fields that include cybersecurity, digital technology, informational technology and financial services.
"To be at a point where we're launching in America when people are beginning to talk about how to address the tech skills gap as a result of digital transformation does feel like an opportune moment as businesses embrace our solution to bring in talent with the necessary skills without having a four-year college degree," said Sophie Ruddock, Multiverse's VP and GM of North America, who is spearheading the company's entrance into the U.S.
The program will train apprentices at Verizon's offices in Dallas and New York. The initial pilot will commence in June with more than 20 software engineering apprentices. As Verizon employees throughout the year-long program, apprentices will receive full benefits and compensation, in addition to the skills and development opportunities provided.
"We are very data-driven and I think we will be able to add value to share the learnings that we are seeing in the field to help inform their [the Biden administration's] ambitious policy that they are putting into place around this new Apprenticeship Act of 2021," Ruddock added.
"We've spoken to people from Congress and some senators, and there's been a lot of excitement around our model because we reduce friction for employers and it's been one of the biggest challenges to tech apprenticeship scaling in the U.S.," Ruddock added.
There are fewer than 1% registered tech apprenticeships in the U.S. But Multiverse is narrowing its focus on developing a more diverse pipeline of talent by also training participants through Verizon's Skill Forward program with national nonprofit partner Generation. Verizon invested $44 million into programming to prepare 500,000 individuals for jobs of the future by 2030, after the company announced a multiyear strategic partnership with Generation to increase access to a free, technology-driven career program.
"If we achieve the goals that we are hoping to achieve just as Multiverse, we're going to quadruple the number of registered of apprenticeships just this year, in the technology fields," said Ruddock.