Finding a home at HOST: Andy Lord, Skills City Ambassador

Andy Lord, the former founder and CEO of digital training business Code Nation and founder of talent firm The Rethink Group has joined HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology, as Skills City Ambassador.

Andy is a successful entrepreneur that has founded several multi-million pound turnover businesses and has always been passionate about helping people. He grew up in a working-class family in Bury, Greater Manchester, and left school without a clear career path in mind but was offered a job in recruitment, which he decided to take a chance on.

In 2005, he decided to set up Rethink Group, an international recruitment and talent management services provider that transforms businesses into higher performing organisations. He has worked with large corporate clients such as Sky, where his team recruited thousands of people a year for them.

During his time in recruitment, he saw clients struggle to find digitally skilled people to fill an increasing number of tech roles. Frustrated by the lack of solutions, he decided to create one himself and so, he established Code Nation.

With his experience of the tech sector and supporting businesses with digital transformation projects, Andy’s motivation was to build a business that really helped people to get ahead in their career and to solve a core problem in the industry – the need to create more business-ready talent.

A maverick in approach, he applied the boot camp model to apprenticeships when he started up tech business Code Nation, and it became the fastest growing, software development apprenticeship provider in the UK.

Last March, when Covid hit, he experienced some personal challenges and decided to take a step back and took six months off work to spend time with his daughter. He says he left the Code Nation brand in good hands and is still an ambassador and supporter of the project he started.

During this time away from work, he volunteered for many charities including The Blood Bikes charity, where he delivers essential goods and services to the NHS in the evenings. Andy is still a keen participant and member of the blood bike family.

He also set up his own consulting business, We Are Where We Are (WAWWA) in 2020 and describes himself as a ‘disruptive education consultant and serial networker.’

Andy said: “As Skills City Ambassador for HOST, I’m very passionate about democratising education and encouraging a different kind of thinking and as an ambassador, my role is to talk to corporates, SMEs and start-ups about what their recruitment challenges look like.”

“HOST will become recognised as an important place for businesses to find brilliant talent, it’s a beautiful combination of employers, potential employees and government funding where appropriate, to give people fair access to education.”

“I get businesses to understand there is a different way to bring talent into their organisations. I talk to them about their talent management strategies and a particular passion of mine is helping businesses to serve underrepresented groups. From any perspective, these people are a part of life’s rich tapestry with skills, ambitions and thinking that will enhance businesses across the globe.”

“My role within HOST is to make sure that people know what we do and why we do it, it’s that simple. And it’s not just about training, it’s about employment. If your belief is that the training you will receive will lead to employment but then that doesn’t happen, it can take you further backwards rather than further forwards. That won’t happen on my watch!”

“And right now, more than ever, in a global pandemic furthering yourself is about making sure you can afford to pay your bills and feed your family, as well as fill your brain, so you know that there has to be a place where people who need a bit of hope or reassurance, can get it.”

“Employment is a huge motivator and worryingly there is unprecedented unemployment in the North and globally. And yet, in the world of digital, there has never been a bigger demand for skills so there’s an imbalance there. HOST will play a massive part in bringing this balance back.”

If you would like to speak to Andy and find out more about HOST at MediaCityUK, you can find him on LinkedIn or get in touch with him directly by email here.