How Swansea-based Dezrez transformed its workforce through government funding schemes

Swansea-based Dezrez, which provides estate agencies with sales, lettings and property management software, is something of a flagship company for a number of Welsh Government schemes designed to strengthen the country’s footing in innovation-led sectors such as technology and digital.

Last year, the innovative tech company rounded up £2.7 million in terms of investment, with a mega £930,000 coming from Welsh Government schemes such as Skills Gateway for Business and Jobs Growth Wales. The latter have allowed Dezrez to recruit and train new talent and to advance the skills of its specialist technical teams.

Commenting on this funding success and the aforementioned schemes, Marnie Clarke, HR manager at Dezrez, said: “We have a very ambitious five year plan at Dezrez and have strategically targeted known funding pots to help us deliver on our objectives and to maintain our leading position as the number one software provider for estate agents.

“If you are a company of integrity wanting to give local talent the best possible chance of progressing in their career, the Welsh government is very helpful. Securing funding really helps a business to focus on processes and strategic planning.”

“The Welsh government committed to high performing, fast-growing companies that offer sustainable employment with a national or global reach. We have had first-hand experience of a number of schemes Welsh businesses can access, and that is something to value.”

To secure the Skills Growth Wales funding – now called Skills Gateway for Business – Dezrez had to map out a detailed training plan that identified skills gaps within the business and supported the company’s growth strategy. Particular emphasis was placed on advancing the skills of the specialist technical innovation team, which saw the need to pursue an agile approach to solving business challenges. This new approach increased capacity by 25% but resulted in the next generation of elegant, agile and intuitive technology for estate agents, Rezi.

Jobs Growth Wales was slightly different. It’s a scheme designed to create jobs for young people who are not in employment or education. With it, the Welsh government commits to paying the National Minimum Wage for each recruit for a six month period. Dezrez Legal, the conveyancing arm of the business, embraced the sentiment of the scheme and took it to another level.

It topped up the subsidy and paid each new employee more than the scheme requires and has employed an experienced trainer to give new recruits the best possible chance of not only securing a permanent position with Dezrez but also qualifying as a professional conveyancer – clearly investing in their futures. Three recruits have already started through the scheme. And while there’s a lot of study and hard work involved, it’s given them a career opportunity that may have taken them years to achieve traditionally.

Justin Morris, chief executive of Dezrez, said: “Dezrez has already enjoyed great success, but there is a lot more we want to achieve. And we will only fulfil our true potential by investing in young, talented and enthusiastic people who are willing to learn and help us take this business to another level. “

“There is no shortage of talent in Swansea if you are able to offer people the right opportunities and high quality training. When that is combined with the attributes of Swansea, with its beaches, outdoor lifestyle and the healthy work-life balance much of the workforce enjoy, the appeal of working for a company such as Dezrez, with our national outlook based around cutting edge innovation, is immense.”

“I must also stress how helpful government initiatives are for fast-growing companies such as Dezrez. Wales is a small, proud country with big ambitions and these scheme help companies such as ours realise our ambitions by hiring local talent to help our rapid growth.”

Many parts of Wales are still battling to move on from the country’s historic economic legacy of coal, steel and heavy industry and low-skilled manufacturing jobs. But the Welsh Government is committed to supporting high performing companies that optimise their desire to establish sustainable, innovative companies with a national or global reach.

The Jobs Growth Wales and Skills Gateway for Business schemes are just two of many schemes that exist to achieve this goal. In addition to these government-led initiatives, two city regions have been created in South Wales with Cardiff and Swansea as their respective hubs, which goes to show that, perhaps, something is working. South Wales is already one of the top digital clusters in the UK measured by turnover, according to nationwide tech support initiative Tech City UK, and Dezrez sits at the heart of it – alongside an array of other successful Welsh tech companies.