Academies are the future: Training our IT Services teams since day one.

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It seems ages ago that Polarising hosted the first online Champions Academy. As the year that will go down in history as the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 revolutionized our lives tremendously and at so many levels.  

Just two weeks after the March Academy started their training, everyone was sent home. The uncertainty we were being faced with was not just for the future, the truth was no one knew exactly what would happen in the next day! It was urgent to adapt.

It turned out to be the only Academy that year and it went considerably well. Our main goal became the wellbeing of everyone, so there was no time to plan much. But it was very important to create a solid structure that involved daily meetings and fine-tuning to the process itself.

2020 remote Champions Academy.

The March 20 Champions Academy has ended their journey, and everything is going smoothly and as expected. Daniel Fernandes believes that:

“The Academy provided a good foundation to understand the way you need to think when creating a project from scratch, both in terms of architecture and infrastructure. But it also helped me to understand how different technologies function and communicate among themselves.”

Entering 2021 still remote but stronger than ever.

A new year begun full of plans and expectations and many lessons learned, but unfortunately, we weren’t out of the woods: the Covid-19 strikes back making all of us return home and so did the first trainees of the year.

Being remote has its pros and cons and is one of the trend topics discussed in organizations these days. I even wrote about it regarding recruitment and specially job fairs. And as far as Academies go, I stand by the same: being remote doesn’t fill all the criteria.

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2021 March Champions Academy.

However, we had learned and became better prepared. Even remote we kept focused and promoted group interaction as much as possible, as well as a closer follow-up on my part, as the Academy Manager.

“It’s a great way to enter a company, with a group of like-minded individuals who are just as eager to learn and work together towards the same goal. Even though we’ve been working remotely because of the pandemic, the support has been stellar, and our group feels close-knit.” (Raquel Ceirão)

Post-pandemic remote hangover? Or new hybrid age?

Because although Polarising always has had a remote work policy, it didn’t apply to the Academies. In fact, Raquel is a good example of someone that knew already Polarising in a non-pandemic context.

These are special trainee teams who require continuous follow-up, and sometimes that means being physically present. There is a different commitment and a lot of hard work from the beginning to complete the program.

We believe that each candidate is unique and that our values apply to any kind of daily interaction. So, in the first couple of months, being at the office is an advantage and helps to understand how everything works and to absorb this real-time company culture.

Irina Fernandes, from the July Academy, was glad to confirm her expectations from when she first met Polarising at FISTA, ISCTE’s annual job fair.

“(…) It was the first company with whom I had a more serious contact with, and I was captivated by their approach, that described the exceptional and relaxed company culture (…).”

July 2021 Champions Academy

Because we had experienced adversity, this new Academy could benefit from many of the remote activities we’ve implemented back in 2020. One good example is that we promote more icebreakers, it gives us the chance to talk about other things than work. More than ever, it felt quite important to get to know each other at a personal level and even lean on each other sometimes.

A new generation of Academies.

So being remote wasn’t something that has transformed the essence of Polarising’s Academies. On the contrary, it has given valuable insights on how junior teams can become more collaborative and better prepared to face the challenges that the first 3 months of intensive training brings.

Polarising Training Academy Program.

Francisco Guedes, who just joined the last Academy of the year, shares some thoughts about the Agile training, which is an important part of our business:

“(…) I had the opportunity to acquire and consolidate concepts about the most adopted management methodology nowadays – Agile. The group dynamics and the speaker’s experience, as well as the Academy environment overall, was paramount to ensure that the knowledge was passed in a professional, yet casual and relaxed way.”

Agile Training, September, and October Champions Academies 2021

What now? Champions will be Champions, no matter.

The goal must always be the same: to prepare Polarising’s future consultants. How? By equipping them with knowledge and distinctive technical skills. But as much important, to give them the ability to make mistakes and learn how to correct them, guide them in the decision-making process and how to be accountable.

This is how they are going to thrive in projects and face the many obstacles they’ll encounter. This is what Polarising Champions Academy is all about. Remote or in class or a combination of both, the challenges ahead will be much broader, proving that the program must continuously evolve to accommodate these new times.

The September Academy final project.

Personally, my goal is that they have fun and learn a bunch of things – not just about the training program or Polarising’s way of life and business – but mostly about themselves. And the biggest prize of all, the thing that makes me proud, to watch them succeed.

And, as far as I know, it is working pretty well. 😉

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Daniel Lambuça
Academy and Training Manager


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Daniel Lambuça