Building a team that’s fit for the future

hedgehog lab is a global digital product agency based in Newcastle Upon Tyne. The company, which currently employs 45 people, recently began working with one of North East Ambition’s Skills Facilitators to plug skills gaps and futureproof the business. hedgehog lab’s People and Culture Lead, Aime Watson, shares what the experience has been like so far.

What prompted you to take part in the North East Ambition programme?
Rochelle, our Skills Facilitator, got in touch with us providing information of the services that North East Ambition could offer hedgehog lab. In our initial meeting with Rochelle we felt that the services on offer were very aligned with our 2021 goals for the business.

We felt that Rochelle’s knowledge, expertise and connections in the industry would add value to both our graduate recruitment drive and our internal development plans.

What do you hope hedgehog lab will gain from the programme?
We hope that the programme and having Rochelle work with us will lead to us setting up great education partnerships for hedgehog lab. We are hoping to implement graduate schemes and other education-led employment in order to fully attract and utilise the excellent young tech talent we have in the North East.

We also want to develop and facilitate great upskilling programmes for our existing staff in order to promote growth within the team and aid retention.

What’s happened so far?
We’ve had conversations with Rochelle who has been instrumental in facilitating meetings with North East education providers. As mentioned previously, we are choosing to focus on the recruitment, education and upskilling routes on offer.

Rochelle’s guidance has been instrumental in allowing us to pursue these options and has assisted us to find funding to support the goals of the business.

And what’s next – how will you be implementing the advice you’ve received?

We have had multiple meetings with education providers and hope to implement Masters apprenticeship routes for postgraduates this September. We also plan to create a learning and development plan for staff already within the business who are wishing to upskill.

Why is it important to your business to have a skills plan in place?
As a small business we recognise the importance of promoting growth within our team. In order to retain our excellent staff, we want to make sure that we support their personal career goals and create progression paths for all roles.

North East Ambition provides free support to SMEs, helping them to create a bespoke skills plan, covering recruitment, upskilling and future skills requirements. Find out more, or make an appointment for an initial consultation, here.

The North East Ambition programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund.