Case Study: Anthony Nolan

How Makers is helping the UK charity to grow their tech team

Danny Attias, Chief Digital & Information Officer at Anthony Nolan

The quality of candidates from Makers has always been very high. Every candidate has been passionate about their journey, it’s a significant investment on their part to go through the training so their appetite for learning and growing makes them perfect for us.

About Anthony Nolan

Anthony Nolan is an incredible UK charity saving the lives of people with blood cancer who need a stem cell transplant. Over the years, five software developers from Makers have joined them.

This charity’s tech projects include handling DNA data, which is complex and challenging. Some of the team are involved in building a brand new donor search algorithm. This is an open source product for any stem cell register in the world to be able to use for free. It’s incredibly exciting and a game changer for the international stem cell transplant community.

The Challenge

Chief Digital & Information Officer Danny Attias has been leading the tech team at Anthony Nolan for four years.

Back then, the developers were coding on legacy platforms in legacy languages, including VB6. The first thing he did was to retrain the existing developers through 18-month long apprenticeship courses, while on-boarding a third party software development partner to establish a modern software development capability. 

18 months later, they started developing React and Redux, and .NET running in Azure. This was a point where it became viable to introduce more modern skill sets, and more junior members into the team. This is when Danny came to Makers to hire.

How Makers helped

“At first we went to Makers to dip our toe in the water by getting just one person. It was incredible because we interviewed five candidates and every single one was just off the chart amazing: we would have hired them all if we had the budget,” says Danny.

“It was really difficult to choose between the candidates and Makers helped us with that selection process. Since then we have recruited four more people, who all come from vastly different backgrounds – professional DJ, teacher, marketing, law, one used to be wildlife detective for the RSPB. So a real variety of background experience.”

“When we went back for our second recruit we were really tough on the shortlisting process so that we didn’t end up interviewing lots of candidates and end up wanting to offer them all roles — we still didn’t have that kind of budget. Makers helped us narrow the candidates down and we decided to just interview one person, who was perfect — they are still with us, really thriving and growing as a full-stack developer.”

“When you go to the real world and when you try and recruit into a role, you’ll get a hundred applications and maybe only five to ten are worth taking through to an interview stage. If you’re lucky you find a candidate who is good, but often you don’t. So it’s a very different dynamic to go into an environment where every single applicant is viable for the role, and every single interview candidate is exceptional for the role.”

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