IBM and HP announce tie-ups with UK Universities to help plug skills gap
Two of the technology industry’s biggest names have announced links with UK universities to help train young people in key IT skills.
First, HP has announced it has teamed up with Buckinghamshire New University to launch work-based Foundation Degree in IT Services Management. It will give students the opportunity to work while developing IT skills.
It will be based at the university in High Wycombe and HP’s offices in Bracknell. The course will run on a part-time basis and HP says it will focus around three themes: Personal and Professional Development, Technology and Business.
Dr Kevin Maher, Principal Lecturer, New Media & Technologies at Bucks New University, said the course is designed to plug the skills gap that is apparent in the technology industry.
"People working in IT services management are concerned with the effective management of IT systems for providing quality services to clients," he said. "Developed in partnership with the largest IT company in the UK running IT systems both in the public and private sectors, this new and innovative course, thought to be the first of its kind, provides students with the opportunities and insights that will ensure they develop the technical and business skills to help them secure long-term employment."
"The course will be beneficial to anyone working in IT who wishes to enhance their personal skills or opportunities for progression. It should also be considered by those who are keen to begin working in the IT sector. As it is delivered part-time and by flexible learning, the opportunities to study are broad," added Professor Chris Kemp, Pro Vice Chancellor at Bucks New University.
Meanwhile IBM has launched a similar scheme with the University of the West of Scotland, with an emphasis on training students to gain new skills in business analytics and business modelling, with of course fits very well with Big Blue’s analytics focus.
The collaboration is part of the IBM Academic Initiative. Members get free access to hardware, full-version software, professionally developed courseware, training, books and other discounts, IBM said.
The University of the West of Scotland recently introduced analytics-related elements to its courses, such as data mining, business intelligence and knowledge management, so the tie-up with IBM seems to represent the natural next step.
"Beyond teaching business and IT skills, we are very concerned with employability and future job prospects for students," said Professor Malcolm Crowe, from University of the West of Scotland’s Faculty of Science and Technology.
"University of West Scotland is adding new courses in direct response to the recommendations of regional employers that will address the business analytics skills gap. Our Industrial Advisory Board has advised us that important computing skills such as business analytics are in demand and will help graduates secure jobs," he added.
The IT industry is facing a growing skills crisis, with a number of companies recently telling CBR of their fears.
"We are seeing no lack of applicants for our technical roles, in fact on the contrary we’re often inundated. The problem lies in the fact that most of those applicants are not suitable, certainly for the more senior positions," said Andrew Pearce, CEO and co-founder of Powwownow, a Richmond-based conference call company.