3Squared recruits talented local developers
A company started by two Sheffield Hallam graduates has now taken on more than 20 students from the city for long-term placements, with many later picking up full-time positions.
3Squared develops custom web-based and mobile applications for companies and brands, helping make technology work for their business. The company started in 2002 when James Fox and Tim Jones graduated from Sheffield Hallam University and were looking to turn what they’d learned from their studies into real-world success.
With that experience, it’s only appropriate that the firm has adopted a policy of seeking out the best students from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam for placements of up to a year. This isn’t passive work experience, but rather posts where the students work on real projects and make a real difference.
Having grown to a full-time staff of around two dozen, 3Squared has had to stay flexible and dynamic, particularly given the fast-changing tech world in which it operates. This means that student placements are genuinely useful for both parties: the approach means 3Squared can bring together the business experience of its permanent staff and the fresh ideas and creativity of the students.
“We’re proud to be working so closely with the likes of Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield University, nurturing and supporting young talent,” explained James Fox. “We remember what it’s like to be full of bright ideas but not be able to turn them into reality because of a lack of experience.
“Offering placements means we can benefit from a stream of original perspectives on our work. The 10 years we’ve been trading is an absolute age in the tech industry. That makes it particularly useful – if sometimes a little eye-opening – to get the viewpoint of younger people who’ve literally grown up in the Internet and mobile tech age.”
Although the placements give students experience that will help them find work in a wide range of firms and industries, 3Squared has been fortunate enough to get the perfect combination of students both enjoying their placement and impressing with their skills. As a result, many have returned for part-time employment while completing their studies, taken on permanent jobs after graduating, or both.
James Fox explains that his decision to remain in Sheffield after his own graduation has paid off. “With two great universities, we’ve got around 50,000 students right on our doorstep. Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam are both ‘destination universities’, meaning that those students include the brightest and best from around the country and overseas, so we’re usually spoilt for choice when recruiting.”
3Squared’s work with students continues a fine tradition in the city. James Fox and Tim Jones both spent their own work placements with a company run by David Jennings, himself a graduate from Sheffield City Polytechnic, which later became Sheffield Hallam.
“Investing in people may sound like a cliché,” James Fox notes “but in our experiences we know it’s a winning philosophy. We wouldn’t be here without the combination of Sheffield’s universities and industries, and we’re always eager to make sure that the next generation gets the same benefit.”
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