.NET, Azure, Embedded C / C+
Ten10 Academy: Software Testing
Tunstall Healthcare is a market-leading Med Tech Solutions Provider (in hardware, software and services). Specialising in the use of smart technology, its products and services provide practical support and non-invasive monitoring by relatives and carers, enabling older people to remain in their own homes for longer as they age.
What we did
Tunstall Healthcare UK is based in a rural area, surrounded by a number of cities with a strong tech presence. This has made recruitment challenging, as the lure of Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and York is strong. As a result, Tunstall had relied heavily on contractors. This was not only expensive but also posed challenges around longevity and knowledge retention in the projects and teams, as well as challenges arising from IR35 legislation.
Tunstall was looking to build a cost-effective, permanent capability, skillset and knowledge within their test and development teams, to allow them to meet their requirements for expansion and growth. In its transformation from a traditional manufacturing organisation to a solutions and services company, Tunstall is becoming more diverse in its recruitment.
Finding and working with partners who excel in people diversity is key to that change being successful. However, with no history of recruitment and training through graduate schemes, Tunstall had some concerns with how new, fresh talent could be effectively onboarded into the organisation via such a programme.
Ten10 Academy Model
Ten10 introduced Tunstall to the Ten10 Academy as a solution to overcome their resourcing challenges. Ten10’s Academy model provides clients with enthusiastic, driven and capable individuals with the attitude and aptitude for testing and development.
The Academy provides industry-leading, intensive training on a number of subjects including: DevOps, Enterprise IT principles, Java, user requirements gathering, automation and test tools. This combined with the technical training ensures the Academy Engineers will successfully embed into the client’s established team and are able to hit the ground running on projects.
Ten10 Academy Engineers are permanently employed by Ten10 from day one of their training, with the additional benefit of accommodation being provided during the period of intensive Academy training. The Ten10 Academy model would allow Tunstall to engage the individuals for a period of two years, based on a specified day rate.
During the engagement, the Academy Engineers would remain permanent employees of Ten10; receiving a range of employee benefits including relocation support, ongoing learning and career development, mentoring and support from a dedicated Pastoral Care Team. At the end of the two-year period, Tunstall would have the option, but not the obligation, to make a permanent offer of employment to the Academy Engineers.
The model directly addressed the knowledge retention risk that Tunstall had been exposed to using contractors, giving it a solution to future proof its test team. It also overcame the geographical challenges of trying for technical testing talent outside of a major city.
A Growing Demand
Tunstall initially engaged three Ten10 Academy Engineers and subsequently grew this number to eight, working in a software testing capacity across a number of different product teams.
A key requirement of Ten10 was to help accelerate the onboarding process. Tunstall’s in-house team created some materials which Ten10 then delivered to the Academy Engineers before arriving on the client site, helping to significantly minimise unproductive time at the start of their engagement.
The Ten10 Academy Engineers have not only excelled at picking up knowledge but have rapidly become integral and invaluable members of the team; they are starting to take on people management responsibilities and for some products are the main source of knowledge within the company.
As a result, Tunstall has chosen to roll out the Ten10 Academy model into their software development teams, where they have a similar talent attraction and retention challenge.
Next Steps, Developers
In order to meet this need, following the core technical test training programme, Ten10 selects the individuals with the strongest technical aptitude and puts them through a subsequent development coaching course.
The additional practitioner-led development course – with one instructor for every three to four individuals – accelerates the development ability of the Academy Engineers, building on the foundation programming course in the core Academy. This is made up of core development training in Java and cross-training in other specialist core technologies including: .Net development, web development, native mobile development in iOS and Android.
Where required, clients can also request additional training be appended to the Academy to meet any specific tool or technology needs that they have.
“Selection of recruitment and resourcing partners is crucial for an organisation like Tunstall, which is focused on putting its people first. The Ten10 Academy shares these values by investing in both technical and people skills. They also provide their people with significant pastoral support while they are with us on client site. This was a key USP that really attracted us to Ten10.
We believe diversity in our teams, especially within the Technology arena is where we will see huge benefit. Ten10 provides people from all walks of life, who, when joining Tunstall have bought into our mission to put our Service Users at the heart of what we do. The blend and diverse background of the Academy Engineers means they bring with them a rounded view of the world not just a tech focus. There is real value in this considering our end Service Users are not all tech savvy, they just appreciate that technology is enabling them to live longer in their own home with a better quality of life.
The Ten10 Academy Engineers’ ability to settle in and quickly become part of the Tunstall Team has allayed any concerns we originally had about the onboarding process with this sort of programme. And the positive, proactiveness demonstrated by every one of the Ten10 Engineers is really great to see.”
– Adam Miller, Director of Firmware and Testing, Innovation and Development at Tunstall Healthcare.
“The rigorous selection employed by the Ten10 Academy ensures we attract and recruit the most capable and passionate graduates. Our training programme has been developed and evolved over 14 Academies, ensuring it keeps pace with the requirements our clients have from testers and developers today.
Our growing relationship with Tunstall Healthcare is testament to the calibre of Ten10 Engineers and the quality of our Academy training and placement process. We are proud to be working together to support Tunstall Healthcare, as they continue to develop industry-leading healthcare solutions to aid independent living for older people.”
– Ash Gawthorp, Academy Services Director at Ten10.