It was while he was working in digital technology in the NHS that Carl Plant came up with the idea for his business. “I was interested in a range of technologies, including web, mobile and social media, that weren’t yet considered useful when it came to health analysis,” he saidHe decided to start bITjAM, his digital technology firm, because he wanted more control over the exciting work that he was doing at the time within the health service. He also wanted to make better use of the relationships that he had with a number of universities that he previously worked with. “The eureka moment came when I was working on a big data project that involved analysing messages sent in forums for diabetes suffers,” he explained. “By using ‘natural language processing applications’, we discovered that many sufferers were using music to help manage their condition. The excitement that I got from these findings gave me the buzz to go on and do this type of research myself.” His first job was working as a subcontractor for the Ministry of Defence, where he mainly tested and repaired torpedoes. He then decided that he wanted to go into nursing before starting his own business. bITjAM is a self-funded project although the company has had some government support through a growth accelerator programme. Although the Staffordshire-based company is still working on health technology, it has now moved into another area which has been prompted from Plant’s own experience of recruiting talent and the importance of work experience for job applicants. “The world of recruitment is flooded with clichés, buzzwords and meaningless jargon,” Plant detailed. He referred to a report by global education organisation City & Guilds, which found that 62 per cent of young people admitted that they don’t understand what employers are looking for in new recruits. “Considering some of the job descriptions out there, it’s an unsurprising figure. In fact, industry jargon and complex buzzwords in job adverts can bewilder candidates of any age. “Overall, 14 per cent of candidates surveyed said they found this kind of recruitment industry language intimidating.”
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Plant pointed out that hiring managers can be increasingly particular in their requirements, demanding specific credentials and experience in the hunt for the ‘perfect’ candidate. To assist HR departments and those looking for jobs, bITjAM has launched an app called Passport.This new technology encourages jobseekers to draw from their experiences inside and outside the classroom. It helps candidates to understand that aside from conventional qualifications core skills such as time management, problem solving, communication and leadership are also important to employers. Using cloud-based technology, Passport translates the candidate’s skills and experiences into a language understood by employers, providing a clearer candidate-to-employer communication than that of a traditional job application. “So far, we’ve had nothing but positive responses to the design of the app,” revealed Plant. “We’re now at the stage where we’re looking for sponsors to help fund the project, which will allow us to test the concept with local school, colleges and universities. “This, combined with the work that we are currently doing for an EU project on the skills gap, will allow us to make the final Passport app a perfect solution for employers and potential employees.” Passport, like bITjAM’s other products, is based on thorough research. “We understand what technology to use and how to use it, but most importantly we understand the process of getting from problem to solution,” argued Plant. “The experience that I have working in this field has allowed me to find the right staff and resources to effectively manage the process of innovation.” He noted a project that took place during the May General Election. 11 cities across the UK ran a Question Time event with young people and bITjAM developed an app that allowed participants across countrywide to answer specific politics-related questions simultaneously.
The data was displayed in real time for each city. “The positive response that we got from people of all ages made me extremely proud of the team and what we had achieved,” he said. Customer service is another important selling point for the company. Plant even found himself when the company was first starting off talking to a client via Skype on a 1,500 foot peak during a backpacking holiday. The company is now branching out into the manufacturing sector by expanding its range of services to include content management systems, mobile app design, web design, data dashboards, industry and market research, interactive reports and tools that help companies turn data into intelligence. “Over the past three years, bITjAM has been studying the manufacturing sector closely to gain a deeper understanding of the technology needs of individual organisations,” detailed Plant. “Technology is a facilitator, not a hindrance and it helps companies get useful insights, manage information in a more intelligent way and communicate better with their stakeholders.”
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