IT graduates will have the opportunity to earn a competitive annual salary while studying for a masters degree at the University of Sussex, under a new combined work experience and sponsored education initiative.
Students will undertake work assignments and conduct research projects on behalf of financial services company American Express while studying at the university. Graduates will receive a salary of £15,250 plus a £500 bonus on admission to the course and a £500 payment on commencement of the second year.
The scheme forms part of American Express' commitment to "growing its IT talent pipeline". The company plans to offer a number of permanent positions to students who graduate from the two-year course.
"The roles performed by our employees have changed dramatically over the past few years and we believe that our ability to attract high-calibre IT graduates is now even more critical to our future business success," says Martyn Carr, vice-president technologies at American Express. "We have developed this programme to provide IT graduates with an integrated package of part-time postgraduate study combined with hands-on experience in IT that will be gained from working in the financial services sector."
Tackling the challenge of the changing role of IT head on, the sponsored MSc will enable talented IT graduates to develop their career potential. Some 30 students based in the Sussex Innovation Centre on the University of Sussex campus will work part-time for American Express while studying for an IT-related masters degree.
The course will offer advanced learning under the tutorage of leading academics in the IT field, combined with commercial experience gained from working with senior IT staff at American Express on a number of the company's key projects.
The computer science department at the University of Sussex is recognised as a leading centre for research, having received a "grade five" in the latest government Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2001). American Express says the combination of a strong academic reputation and a highly collaborative approach to partnership were the key factors in it choosing the university as its partner on the scheme.
Alasdair Smith, the university's vice-chancellor, says, "I am pleased American Express found that the University of Sussex offered it an unrivalled range of graduate programmes in a strong research-based computer science department."
The MSc course begins in October 2003 and will be open for applications from 5 March 2003.
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This was first published in April 2003