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An IT and education campus has been opened on the Isle of Man to provide the island’s adults with technology skills.
The joint campus has been developed by the University College Isle of Man and the International Centre for Technology (ICT), and will host students and technology companies to create an environment beneficial to both.
The campus will offer computing degrees and master’s programmes, and will enable a two-year apprenticeship programme in which students will be placed with local tech businesses to learn in a work environment.
Philip Vermeulen from the ICT said the park would give students access to first-hand tech experience while providing Isle of Man-based tech companies with access to the talent pool of students.
“The Isle of Man has world-leading IT infrastructure, and e-business now represents 25% of the island’s gross domestic product,” said Vermeulen. “By launching the IT and education campus, we are directly nurturing the continued growth of the sector and developing its future workforce.”
The campus will offer degree courses in computer science, business management, cyber security, and finance and accounting.
Students will also be able to take a master’s in computer science, and the island’s ICT will offer short bootcamp courses in tech, where the students will have a chance to learn while they earn at the local tech businesses adjoining the site.
In 2017, the campus will open to house technology businesses on the island, such as Manx Telecom, Pokerstars and Microgaming. Through apprenticeships and the campus’s educational programmes, students will gain tech qualifications relevant to the IT employers on the island.
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The Isle of Man is also home to a fast-growing blockchain cluster, as well as almost 200 e-businesses. The campus aims to feed tech talent into the island’s tech ecosystem, which is used as a testing site for how particular ventures will affect the wider UK economy.
Many believe the best way to solve this is through collaboration between educational establishments and IT firms to ensure the right skills are given to graduates to equip them for the workplace.
Jo Pretty, principal of the campus, said the campus’s courses and apprenticeships would help the island provide its tech sector with workers whose skills matched the sector’s needs.
Work placements for students will also be organised at businesses elsewhere in the UK. The Isle of Man government’s support for the sector has included a £50m enterprise development scheme granting funds to technology startups.