New Welsh National Software Academy To Address IT Skills Gap

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Cardiff University and Welsh Government-backed National Software Academy will offer degree with on-the-job training

Cardiff University plans to train the next generation of software engineers at a new a ‘National Software Academy’ for Wales in Newport in a bid to tackle a perceived skills shortage in the country.

The three year Applied Software Engineering degree promises to provide students with on the job training that Welsh industry fears current graduates lack, as well as hands-on experience with the latest technology.

Mentors from industry will be on hand to dispense advice while teaching will mimic workplace environments. During the programme’s pilot year, students worked with the engineering firm Laing O’Rourke to create a mobile app that managed materials during construction.

National Software Academy

.wales .cymru domain names“When we talk to our partners in business and industry they tell us that they need more graduates leaving university with the right skills for the 21st century workplace,” said Professor Karen Holford, pro vice-chancellor of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering at Cardiff University.

“They need graduates with more ‘on the job’ experience and interaction with businesses throughout their studies.

“The National Software Academy will address these issues, and provide our students with a distinctive educational experience that ensures they stand out from the crowd. Students will graduate as highly employable leaders in their field, with the vocational edge needed in today’s workplace.”

The Welsh government has given its backing to the academy, claiming it will help meet demand for 2,700 qualified software engineers each year. The degree will be delivered at ‘Platform’ in Newport – the government’s new digital innovation company.

“We are a pro-business government, committed to working with the sector to find practical solutions to Wales’ economic needs,” said Edwina Hart, Welsh Economy, Science and Transport Minister. “I am delighted we are launching the National Software Academy because it will ensure that our graduates entering this highly specialist profession have the right skills and training to hit the ground running.”

The launch is the latest in a series of education and industry initiatives designed to fill an IT skills gap that many feature will harm UK business, government and security. Research last year suggested a quarter of all Brits fear the sack due to a lack of digital knowledge.

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