We’re delighted that Charu Bjuvestig has been promoted to MD of our consulting business – now called QA Talent. Under the new name, Charu and her expert team will be making sure we connect businesses with the tech specialists they need to use technology effectively across everything they do.
To find out more, our very own CEO Paul Geddes interviewed Charu on the changes afoot and what QA Talent will deliver.
Paul Geddes: What’s in a name?
Charu Bjuvestig: Changing the name to QA Talent is about rebooting, relaunching and reenergising our activities. It’s about having a clear identity that is easily understood.
So what will QA Talent actually do?
It’s quite simple, really. We have a unique model that blends recruitment with training. We use that model to do just one thing – and do it really well: We take socially diverse people from all career stages and upskill them through bootcamps. They emerge as junior tech specialists (affectionately known as QAdets), who support our clients over the short term to plug their internal digital and tech talent gaps.
During this time, we provide pastoral care as well as technical upskilling for our tech specialists – which means our clients get the right skills (with all the right certifications) and they don’t have to provide any additional management oversight, mentoring or coaching while our QAdets are still with QA. And if the client likes what our tech specialists offer, they can build their internal capabilities by bringing them onto their payroll after a certain amount of time.
You mentioned social diversity. Why is that important to QA Talent?
Social mobility is a really important issue and the lack of diversity in tech is a major contributing factor to the ever-growing skills gap. It’s clear that we need to support people from non-traditional tech backgrounds to get the training they need, in a way that works for them, so they too can succeed in tech careers.
Social mobility is also important to employers, who are looking to accelerate equality, diversity and inclusion strategies for their own workforces while also bringing vital skills into their ecosystem as early as possible.
At QA we are committed to this across everything we do, and it’s something I’ve always been passionate about. The QA Talent model is all about social mobility and diversity. That diversity doesn’t just cover gender, but also ethnic and neurodiversity. It is designed to find and support individuals that may not have the means or capacity to pursue other ways into the tech sector.
So tell us a bit more about you and your journey with QA so far
I have a diverse background. I was born and raised in India, then went to study an MBA in the United States and ended up staying there for 15 years. I then lived and worked in many places including Singapore, Geneva and Paris before I moved to London 10 years ago. Oh, and I married a Swede, so diversity is very much baked into my life!
Careerwise I spent a lot of my time in financial services. I started at Citibank and then JP Morgan Chase, where I built up expertise in IT transformation programmes. Then I went to KPMG in their Financial Services and Strategic Change practices, before heading to Infosys Consulting as UKI and European Head of the People and Transformation practice, where I continued to sell and deliver large-scale complex people and IT transformation programmes across a range of sectors. In fact, I was a QA client.
When I jumped the fence to join QA, it was because I was really excited by how it was framing the tech skills problem and actively looking to solve it, not just by supporting businesses but also by empowering individuals. I think that’s probably my USP, that I can bring a customer’s eye-view to what we do and help our clients really understand the value in working with us.
What’s the benefit of bringing a QA Talent tech specialist into a business? Is there a risk around bringing in junior people with newly acquired skills and potentially no real-world work experience?
Alongside social mobility there’s one other thing I will repeat over and over: The world of work is changing. And the future of work, as we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, will ask some challenging questions of businesses. Ones they need to answer quickly if they want to remain relevant, offer the best possible customer experience and succeed in an ever-more competitive market. As digital and tech bleed across all our interactions – whether in banking, retail, hospitality or leisure – the skills needed to keep up are constantly growing.
In addition, we’re moving into a world where experience in terms of time isn’t as important a currency as experience in terms of having the latest skills at your fingertips. QA Talent is supporting employers with that step change. Our tech specialists emerge from their bootcamps armed with the latest skills in the latest technologies. Some might be mid-career, others might be fresh out of education, but they are all at the cutting edge of tech, and able to apply it with flexibility and agility to meet a business’s specific needs.
What could I expect from QA Talent if I was to sign up to become a tech specialist?
It’s more than just a job. It’s really important that our tech specialists see QA as a home where they can thrive and grow. I’m committed to creating a culture of belonging and inclusiveness where you’ll get access to the best training and support for your journey into the world of tech. We provide technical upskilling and pastoral care while our tech specialists are with us. It’s a safe environment for two years where you’ll be skilled, mentored, upskilled and coached.
What motivates you most?
Every time I see a tech specialist come through our training and get placed with a big-name firm like Goldman Sachs or IBM, I feel so proud. Proud of the power QA Talent has to kickstart someone’s career and proud of the tech specialist for realising their potential and taking that first step into a successful lifetime career in tech. We’re not saving lives, but we are definitely changing them. If that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!
In one sentence, what is your overarching mission for QA Talent?
Helping individuals thrive by giving them the tools they need for a successful career in tech, and helping businesses thrive by solving real-world skills gaps and problems through skilled, motivated and passionate talent.
And finally, what would you say to any employers out there who are facing tech skills shortages?
Come and talk to us! We can help you understand your requirements and, if it’s a suitable fit, match you with talented and motivated individuals who can help solve your problems. If you’d like to know more or just have a chat, drop us a line at QATalent@qa.com.