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London Business Matters: Interview with CEO & Founder of Sparta Global, David Rai

Sparta Global CEO, David Rai was interviewed by London Business Matters Magazine. Scroll down to read more on what Sparta Global does and what we have achieved so far...

This article was originally published in London Business Matters Magazine, read the full article here.

CM. What is your business model?

DR. We’re a technology educator and a start-up launched in 2015. We provide access to cutting-edge technology training and careers.

The kind of skills our ‘Spartans’ acquire during their time with us such as Software Development, Cyber Security, DevOps, Data and Business Analysis are in heavy demand. As a result, we have seen rapid growth since inception and now employ 1000 people.

 

CM. You are concerned about the acute tech skills shortage in the UK. How are you bridging the gap?

DR. Traditionally, careers in tech have been the preserve of white, male graduates hailing from Russell group universities. But tech desperately needs a more diverse workforce made up of individuals who can bring multiple perspectives and creativity to problem solving. For that reason, we actively encourage underrepresented groups to train with us namely, women, people from black minority and ethnic backgrounds.

Otherwise, it won’t only be the tech industry that suffers as a result, but the future of the country and the economy, too.

Graduates, non-graduates, returners, career changers are all given an equal opportunity to join Sparta Global, receive paid training in in-demand technology areas, and be assigned to work on live digital projects with our clients. We can help organisations access the digital skills they are missing but we are also incredibly proud to give them access to the diversity of thought they need to succeed. We hire purely on attitude and aptitude for our digital careers. Diversity and inclusion is in our DNA, in our business values and ingrained in me.

We want to spearhead industry change and evolution to truly become inclusive.

 

CM. What has been your own journey as an entrepreneur?

DR. You could say I come from humble beginnings, born in Coventry to immigrant parents who arrived here from India in the 60s. I grew up watching my dad build a successful business – a car dealership – from zero. He had to break down so many barriers – linguistic, cultural and more, to succeed. He and his peers grafted hard to open doors for the next generation and it’s over to me now to push those boundaries further. I was the first generation to go to university and enter the workforce as a graduate. I had a lot of fun as a marketing manager in the hospitality industry when I first graduated – it was I suppose my baptism of fire. But the entrepreneurial spirit that runs in my family soon got the better of me, and it wasn’t long before I took a sideways step away from corporate life to start a business of my own. What I’ve learned so far is to ignore the naysayers, stay focused on the vision I’ve set out for myself, try and do some good, and to enjoy the journey along the way. Life’s short.

 

CM. You met Princess Anne earlier this year. What was that about?

DR. I was awarded The Princess Royal Award for services to training, and also for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It was a huge honour for me and the whole team and a leap forward on our mission to widen the appeal of a career in tech to diverse communities.

 

CM. Hit me with the numbers

DR.

  • 3000 Spartans have gone through our programmes to become employed by some of the country’s major corporates
  • 98% Spartans have gone through our programmes to become employed by some of the country’s major corporates
  • 32% of Spartans are female
  • 52% are from ethnic minority
  • 58% are the first in their family to go to university
  • 42% are from state schools
  • 70% received free school meals meaning they are accessing social mobility opportunities through Sparta Global.

 

CM. What does the future look like?

DR. The country needs expertly-trained tech specialists and the demand just keeps on growing. But it feels like we’re still in the foothills of spreading the word that exciting, well-paid tech careers are accessible to the many, not just the few. So, there is plenty for us still to do towards levelling up the playing field for the workforce as well as future proofing our country with robust tech infrastructures to protect the nation.