Category: People

New Graduates remotely join Pinewood’s fast-growing team

After welcoming 10 new placement students earlier this year, for the first time learning and working entirely from home, Pinewood Technologies has recruited a further 10 graduates to join their Software Development team in November.

Thrilled by the results of their remote training plan, with undergraduates already assisting with real projects in their teams, Pinewood are keen to continue expanding. The introduction of new talent into Pinewood’s software teams will support the DMS business to achieve their ambitious growth strategy.

Katrina McTernan, Early Careers Recruiter at Pinewood explains: “We’re a hive of activity right now, with a huge focus on taking Pinewood DMS into new markets. Our developers have truly embraced the lockdown, focusing on delivering great new features that are benefitting our UK and international customers. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that we grow our teams to accommodate. This is a fantastic opportunity for our new graduates to start their career in a fast-paced environment, embracing new ways of learning, to quickly become valuable members of the team!”

Pinewood’s graduates will follow a similar boot camp to that of placement students. Each graduate will be assigned an experienced mentor, whilst taking part in live daily workshops via Microsoft Teams, learning everything they need to become a Full-Stack Developer. Graduates will be given a checklist to complete, keeping their progress on track and encouraging them to boost their technical knowledge.

Katrina concludes: “It’s our priority to find the best, passionate people for our business – we’ve invested a lot of time in creating the best remote training plan and we’re excited to see what the future brings. With over 20 developers having joined us remotely throughout lockdown, it’s an exciting new chapter for Pinewood!”

27 fresh faces join Pinewood to shape the future of automotive retail

This summer, 27 undergraduate students have joined Pinewood Technologies, eager to pour their energy into a career in automotive technology, embarking on a year-long placement with one of the UK’s leading DMS providers.

Each year Pinewood carefully selects a group of undergraduates from the UK’s best universities to join their popular business and software development placement schemes (which in 2019 had over a thousand applicants), with the expectation that most will return upon completion of their degrees. This year’s intake is a record in undergrad recruitment for the global DMS business.

The business-focused students will work in a variety of roles throughout their ‘year-in-industry’, whilst software engineering students will be given development projects, working directly on improving the DMS and Pinewood’s role-based apps. Those who show potential, and add value for customers, can expect the offer of a role after graduation; their placement acting as a working interview.

As Pinewood continues the path of international growth, this demonstrates a commitment to invest in the next generation of experts.

“Hiring undergraduates is crucial for our business,” explains Kiran Kundra, HR Business Partner. “We invest time and effort to identify where they’d be best placed to learn the most and deliver optimum value for our customers. We’ve retained a skilled base of senior staff and people who are now leaders, who started with us on placement and now contribute significantly to the performance of our company. Today, 20% of our workforce are students, which brings our business fresh perspectives and helps us to keep our customers on top.”

Pinewood’s 27 undergraduates will learn how the DMS business is adapting to the rapidly changing marketplace. This provides young people with an opportunity to make an impact, by involving them in Pinewood’s latest innovations to provide dealers with new profit opportunities and higher margins.

IT Apprentice of the Year awarded to Pinewood’s junior developer

Pinewood Technologies congratulates their youngest software development apprentice Oskar, who recently won ‘IT Apprentice of the Year’ at South City and Birmingham College’s annual awards. Oskar was one of 400 students nominated. He gained valuable experience working within Pinewood’s development team, consistently exceeding the expectations of his leaders and colleagues. Throughout the course of his apprenticeship, Oskar learned about and worked with various Microsoft technologies including: C#, Web Developement (MVC, WebForms, .NET Core), Microsoft SQL, Visual Studio, TFS, GIT, JavaScript, KnockoutJS.

Following the completion of his level 3 qualification in IT software development, Oskar received a conditional offer for a degree-level apprenticeship with Aston University, which he will begin this September.

For more information about Pinewood’s apprenticeship programmes, click here.

Dealers urged not to let Apprenticeship Levy funds go to waste

The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy is encouraging more employers to focus on developing young people.

“It’s important that businesses are aware that there are funds to make use of – use them or lose them,” says Lara Mazzolari, HR Partner at Dealer Management System provider, Pinewood Technologies PLC. “There are thousands of pounds available for training the next generation of talent to help push your business forward.”

All businesses with an annual wage bill of over £3 million per annum are required to contribute 0.5% of their payroll towards this government levy, which subsidises the training and education of UK apprenticeships. In return, these employers are eligible to receive an allowance of £15,000 towards funding their own apprenticeship schemes.

The levy is not just restricted to larger companies or aimed at recruiting college leavers – businesses with a wage bill beneath the £3 million quota also benefit with a 90% subsidy offered towards the training costs of both technical and business based apprenticeships.

“We appreciate how difficult it is to find the right people,” says Mazzolari. “We have an ever-expanding team at Pinewood. This includes degree-level apprentices and Level 3 apprentices. The levy has let us develop the specialist industry knowledge and software skills we look for in candidates, adapting to our values and culture from a young age, so we can easily shape them into the ideal fit for each role. We have success stories from people who have worked their way through the business, who will continue to advance their career with us upon completion.”

Pinewood are committed to investing in future talent, fuelling the continued innovation and growth of the software business – a strategy that is paying dividends and which they urge other automotive businesses to consider.

Automotive retailers should be turning to this opportunity for a cost-effective way to recruit and train the next generation of vehicle technicians, sales teams or service advisors – there are apprenticeships available in all of these areas.

Visa changes boost Pinewood recruitment in the face of Brexit ‘brain drain’

Pinewood Technologies PLC employs one of the largest software development teams outside of London. Based in Birmingham, the DMS provider employs over 200 people with more than 10% from outside of the UK. Pinewood recruits from the EU and has also attracted Software Development talent from South America, Africa, Russia and Asia.

Following the Brexit vote employers have found it increasingly difficult to recruit from the EU, the UK is now less attractive to EU workers due to value of the pound and the uncertainty. This has led to more employers to look further afield. Since 2008 the UK has operated a points-based visa system for skilled non-EU workers with a maximum number permitted of 20,700 per year.  Since Brexit this service has been significantly oversubscribed with up to four times the number of applications from UK employers wishing to recruit.

Recent changes to the system have meant that the NHS visa applications are no longer included in the visa cap of 20,700 effectively increasing the number of visas available to businesses like Pinewood.  Pinewood has now successfully recruited 7 skilled graduate software developers from Vietnam who will join the multinational team at the year end.

“We are working harder than ever to source talent from other parts of the world. We’re also focussing on building home-grown talent,” says Lara Mazzolari, HR Business Partner. “Following work with local colleges and universities, over 10% of our team are placement students or apprentices, building their skills with us and ready to join the team when they graduate.”

Pinewood recently welcomed 20 undergraduate placements – a mixture of software development and business students.  Opportunities such as the placement schemes, graduate roles and apprenticeships by Pinewood, provide a gateway to a fantastic career in the automotive technology industry during an exciting period of rapid change.

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