Ed Vaizey unveils employer-backed Degree Apprenticeships

Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey announces Degree Apprenticeships for students in employment to study for free

The government is supporting employer-backed Degree Apprenticeships and short courses in a bid to train UK students for a range of digital jobs.

Aiming to fill one million digital-sector jobs in the next decade, the digital economy minister Ed Vaizey (pictured) revealed that digital-sector qualifications will enable students to complete a full honours degree while in employment – with no student fees and earning a wage throughout.

The first Degree Apprenticeships to be unveiled are aimed at undergraduates interested in digital careers ranging from business analysis to software development and technology consultancy.

Vaizey also unveiled industry-designed short courses aimed at providing students with intensive training, to keep pace with employers’ changing technologies.

The industry-accredited standard will be delivered flexibly and claims it will enable SMEs to hire digital professionals with confidence that they are trained in the skills they need.

The employers offering Degree Apprenticeships so far include Accenture, BT, Capgemini, CGI, Ford, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Hewlett Packard (HP), IBM, John Lewis, Lloyds Banking Group, Network Rail and Tata Consulting Services (TCS).

Several universities have signed up to support the short courses and are working with the businesses to offer the degrees. Universities include Aston, Exeter, Greenwich, Loughborough, Manchester Metropolitan, University College London, University of the West of England and Winchester.

Creating talent for the digital economy

The news was unveiled at a Tech Partnership event at IBM’s Southbank offices, where Vaizey said: “These new digital qualifications are the latest example of government working in partnership with academia and industry to ensure that education and training routes are providing the skills which employers need now and in the future.

“We have already put coding into the school curriculum and our roll-out of superfast broadband, backed by over £1bn government investment in our digital infrastructure, has now passed more than 1.5 million homes and businesses and is reaching 40,000 more each week.”

The short courses are backed by Accenture, ARM, BT, Cisco, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Oracle, Quicksilva, TCS, Telefonica (O2), the BBC, Direct Line Group, HMRC, Jaguar Land Rover, Lowe and Partners, National Grid, Network Rail, Save the Children, Equanimity UK Ltd and Royal Mail.

Tech Partnership board member and Capgemini UK chairman, Christine Hodgson, said: “The government’s support for this new route into employment will enable young people to build the academic and practical skills needed for success in the tech sector and will help create the talent needed to boost the digital economy.”

Richard Pettinger, director, information management for business at University College London said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with employers and the government to create the new Degree Apprenticeships in technology solutions to help increase the flow of skills into the tech industry.

“These Degree Apprenticeship courses will open a new route for young people to build a career in technology with the support of government funding.”

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