13 Feb 2023

SME Member of the Week: Zaizi

Zaizi is this week's SME Member of the Week. This month, techUK are focusedshowcase SMEs who have been successful in recruiting digital apprentices and illustrating the positive impact this has had on their business. 

Zaizi helps public sector organisations realise their potential. They design, build and sustain secure digital services, keeping user needs at the heart of everything we do.

How did your company start?

Zaizi was started by our CEO Aingaran Pillai in 2007. We quickly established a strong reputation among our clients of turning around failing digital projects, mainly in the public sector. In 2012, when the Government Digital Service was established, we became experts in the space, hosting events and roundtables and showing how we could help the government save taxpayers’ money. 

Now we work exclusively with the UK public sector; designing, building and sustaining user-centred and secure digital services. Our capabilities include strategy, service design, product management, user research, agile leadership, automation, engineering, architecture, cloud services and support.

We've tackled big projects for important clients like Border Force, National Cyber Security Centre, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and Ministry of Defence. And our work has been recognised by industry. We have received awards for the digital services we've built, both for ourselves and our clients.

How does your company contribute to this month's theme?

The apprentices are paired with a mentor and they learn by shadowing their line managers and other engineers, participating in tasks, client meetings, and presentations. 

We publish our salary brackets for all roles, ensuring we pay our apprentices competitive market salaries. 

Our first cohort has been very successful and they’ve been used as examples of how digital apprentices can unlock potential. For example, we helped one of our apprentices to switch careers from law to tech and enabled another to finally pursue his passion for tech.

None of our apprentices have left Zaizi, which we feel is a testament to our commitment to helping them realise their full potential. 

We believe this retention rate is a direct result of the time and effort we have invested in their training and development. The apprentices get valuable work experiences, challenging projects, a positive company culture, and support to advance their careers. 

Our employees also benefit and find fulfilment in mentoring and seeing the apprentices succeed. 

Who's behind your company?

Zaizi prides itself in being an organisation which puts people first. Our purpose is realising potential, not only for our customers and fellow citizens, but for our own people too.

For that reason we make great efforts to invest in our employees. We want to create an environment where they achieve their goals and grow. It’s something we’re constantly honing and tweaking to make better. We have an organisational wide KPI to ensure 30% of staff progress to a higher SFIA level every year. 

Our company culture, which is based on our values and reinforced by our 'It's OK' poster, emphasises our support and progressiveness. 

We place a high importance on the well-being and mental health of our employees. To support this, we have implemented various initiatives such as organising regular social events, conducting quarterly surveys to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement, and hiring a full-time in-house organisational coach to support teams. 

Our culture extends to our engagement with wider society and the environment. Last year, we achieved Carbon Negative status and we’re currently in the process of obtaining B-Corp certification.

What’s your perspective on the present and the future of this month's theme?

There is a shortage of demand for digital specialists. Investing in the training and development of junior talent is a crucial step in addressing the digital skills gap in the UK and helps contribute to increased productivity and economic growth.

Even as an SME, we knew that investing time and effort into hiring apprentices can make a big impact. And as we've grown significantly over the past two years, we see it integral in our growth as it helps us attract new talent.

We also want to make a positive impact, and that's why we recruit and support people from underrepresented backgrounds in our apprenticeship program. Most of our apprentices are women. We have working mothers, career changers, and even people who've come to this country as refugees or migrants.

Hiring a diverse range of apprentices from varied backgrounds brings new perspectives and talents to companies. And most importantly makes a significant positive impact on the services we provide.

Recent Success

Our most notable recent success is the largest contract win in our history. We won an £8m contract to work with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), helping them develop a range of new digital public services and policies.   We’re supporting DLUHC to deliver successful policy outcomes through user-centred design capability, Agile working methods and technical support. We provide additional resources to urgent projects and stand up full Agile multidisciplinary teams when required.    The new contract followed on from previous work we had done with the department, which shows the level of trust we’ve built with a key government department.

What does the future look like for your company?

We enjoy public sector work. We work directly with our clients and see how our services help fellow citizens and benefit society — this passion still drives our work today.  Over the past few years, we have experienced significant growth and we have ambitious plans for further growth. We are bringing in more public sector expertise and changing our structure slightly to facilitate that growth.  We will expand the digital services we offer to new areas of government, enabling them to better serve citizens. We plan to upskill and expand our team, which will create new jobs and opportunities across the UK. And the apprenticeships scheme is one way for us to do that. 

Asks for other members  

If you have unused apprenticeship levy funds, please consider transferring them to us so we can continue providing apprentices valuable training and upskilling opportunities.

Transferring levy funds is a great way to support the growth and development of future professionals in your desired industries and skill areas.

More information

Zaizi website: https://www.zaizi.com/

Zaizi’s case studies: https://www.zaizi.com/case-studies/

How Zaizi transforms government digital services: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=339FJGcj9jk

Tech apprenticeship: A change of career direction at Zaizi: https://www.zaizi.com/blog/tech-apprenticeship-a-change-of-career-direction-at-zaizi/

Why we’re saying what’s OK: https://www.zaizi.com/blog/why-were-saying-whats-ok/


SME Member of the Week: March, Women in Tech

For March's SME Member of the Week, we’ll be focusing on Women in Tech. Throughout March, techUK is discussing actions tindustry can take towards equal representation in the sector. We are keen to showcase how SME members are supporting this women in tech and supporting gender diversity.