Featured Voices

Euan Blair, CEO and co-founder of White Hat

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

The tech entrepreneur Euan Blair on @WhiteHatGB’s new approach to getting young people into work:

As a business looking to build an outstanding alternative to university and create a diverse group of future leaders, the coronavirus has made our offer front of mind for schools and companies.

The pandemic has shown the need for digital skills accelerate by two to five years over the last few months.

Meanwhile, universities have been in a crisis defined by lack of capability and lack of will: they’ve been unable to deal with this new reality.

Some are doing remote courses that are not particularly great and with no social experience which is one of the main reasons why people go to university. 

Meanwhile, companies have massively growing digital skills needs and an acceptance that they need to get skills from other sources. 

Through the work of Black Lives Matter, diversity has become existential for them. What we have is an open discussion about racial inequality and structural barriers in society.

CEOs are thinking: “Do I have the skills mix to succeed over the coming years? And how do I make sure I’m doing my part on diversity and inclusion and making my organisation accessible to people?” 

Perhaps the final piece in the puzzle is that employers are asking themselves how they keep employees engaged at home.  

Apprenticeships are top of the agenda for government worldwide

All this has made it clear how valuable our apprenticeships programme is. We aim to create a frictionless barrier for diverse talent. We’ve been growing really quickly over the past few months. We had to transition everything online almost overnight.

There’s a big difference between remote learning which is taking something you deliver in person and lifting and shifting it online, and actual online learning, which is in a different cadence and requires a different style of instruction. We invested early in making sure  our curriculum is suitable for online learning. 

I appreciate the government’s sentiment regarding the recent movement on apprenticeships guarantees. It’s top of the agenda for government worldwide. The Singaporean government is subsidising 80 per cent of apprenticeship wages.

In the US, the federal government just announced they’re going to ban the use of college degrees for the hiring process and instead hire people based on skills. This is a gradual global groundswell and there’s a lot to be said for making apprenticeships a priority: it lays the gauntlet down to schools and parents to be seriously exploring these alternatives. 

You can’t do this without employers

Having said that, you can’t do this without employers. And the bigger piece is we need employers to think: “We don’t need a graduate because although they might come with a degree, they don’t come with any of the skills I need and I want someone who has the right mindset to learn.” 

At White Hat, we also understand that over a 50-year career, a shot of learning at the start isn’t going to be sufficient. You’re going to need to keep learning.  

Our programmes range across areas. For instance, we did the first ever apprenticeship in legal project management with Clifford Chance. We also do programmes with KPMG where we reskill members of their teams in data analytics; this is driven by their clients but also by their internal needs.  At Google, they’re training digital marketers and software engineers. We’ve also had a focus on military veterans working with Citi Group and returning to work mothers.  

Reskilling is a major area

There are many individuals within organisations with amazing residual knowledge of that organisation and deep loyalty to it. They’ve worked somewhere for a significant period of time, but their role is changing. After doing the same job for 5-10 years, they want to do something different and take on a new challenge. We’re about giving those people a route. 

Companies are very aware that Generation Z bring a host of skills that they know they need to address. What they're increasingly realising is that there is very little difference between the skill level of a graduate and the skill level of someone they can hire as an apprentice. If you're relying on elite universities to fulfil your hiring needs, you're going to get very similar people.  

With the virus, all this has become absolutely urgent and critical. As often happens when you have huge shocks to the economy, it brings into sharper focus a lot of things that people had already realised to some extent, but they didn't necessarily have a burning platform on which to act. Well, now they do.  

Euan Blair, CEO and co-founder of White Hat

This article was first published in Issue Two of Finito World, October 2020. 

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page