UK-based apprenticeship startup WhiteHat has secured $16 million in Series A financing in a round led by Index Ventures with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Salesforce Ventures.

The funding comes at a time WhiteHat has signed up more than 250 employers, including the likes of Facebook, Salesforce, BP, Santander and Publicis, to help them deliver training to apprentices as an ‘alternative to university’.

Indeed, WhiteHat says it aims to replace traditional university education with apprenticeships, and the funding should enable it to roll out its programmes across the UK instead of just London, and attract more employers to match apprentices with.

Founded back in 2016, WhiteHat matches young talent to professional services and digital roles and provides applied learning over the course of their apprenticeships thanks to partnerships. The startup says more than 1,000 people apply to the apprenticeship programmes on a weekly basis.

“Today, if you want a great career the assumption is you go to university, but spiralling costs of higher education, lack of diversity in leadership positions, and a major global skills gap in digital and tech are all evidence that this model isn’t working,” said Euan Blair, co-founder and CEO of WhiteHat (and the son of former UK prime minister Tony Blair).

“At WhiteHat we’re building an outstanding alternative to university. Our apprentices get the job they want, the training and qualifications to succeed and a coach to help them excel, all while earning from day 1. With no debt, no wasted time and the opportunity to learn relevant and desirable skills, this is the future of work and education,” he added.

“We know diversity is crucial for the success of any business. Companies have been investing in outreach and work experience but despite effort and money being spent on these initiatives, these haven’t moved the needle in increasing employee diversity.” commented Sophie Adelman, co-founder of WhiteHat alongside Blair, and president of the young company. “Apprenticeships provide a practical and impactful way for companies to access diverse talent pools and build the skills they need, whilst supporting social mobility and creating future leaders.”

Comments are closed.