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QA Launches New IT Degree Apprenticeship

20 Oct 2015

QA Launches New IT Degree Apprenticeship

QA Apprenticeships has launched a new IT degree apprenticeship, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.

The new work-based degree apprenticeships from QA come in three main flavours - Network Engineering, Software Engineering, Data Analytics - and will furnish young people with the skills and qualifications they need to forge out a career in the IT sector.

QA Apprenticeships has been named as Worldwide Learning Partner of the Year 2015 by Microsoft and Ofsted gave them a Grade 1 ‘Outstanding’ award as a provider of apprenticeships. In the last six years, over 7,500 apprentices have completed one of their apprenticeship programmes.

QA apprenticeship programmes offer salaries of up to £250 per week and over 9 in 10 apprentices go on to gain full time employment when they finish one of their courses.

QA has worked together with The Tech Partnership and The University of Roehampton to create their new IT degree schemes which will see apprentices gain a Digital & Technology Solutions BSc Degree along with direct hands-on work and one-to-one experience in the IT industry.

Degree modules on the BSc will include cloud technologies, big data, DevOps and IoT, taught by a mix of methods such as workshops, multimedia content and real life exercises.

Once the QA degree apprenticeship is complete, students will have learned the skills to work in a permanent roles such as software engineers, network engineer, data analysts, web and mobile developers, systems admins, data scientist, systems analysts and DevOps engineers.

Explaining the rationale behind the new schemes, Director of QA Apprenticeships, Ben Pike, said: “Whilst we have been building the IT apprenticeship market, we have noticed the accelerated growth of the UK technology sector has created demand for graduate-level skills within the workplace. Since we already have a high level of employer engagement, we believe our new degree programmes are a compelling offer for businesses as a real alternative to traditional computer science degrees.”

With up to 66%, or £18,000, of the training funded by the government’s new Trailblazer initiative, there is strong incentive for businesses to sign up for the QA apprenticeships and help train young people.

The UK now has a technology and digital skills gap which the government is trying to address. Statistics from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills reveal that 36 per cent of SMEs (Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises) don’t even have a website for their business. And, according to figures from the digital skills charity Go.On, there are a million small businesses in the United Kingdom which don’t have the right staff to help them fulfil their technology requirements. A spokesperson for the charity said:

“It is not just individuals that are missing out on the benefits of being online. 23% of small businesses don’t have Basic Digital Skills. Without Basic Digital Skills, these SMEs are missing out on their share of the UK’s annual website sales of £193 billion. Not only that, but they also risk losing potential business because they can’t be found online, may be missing an opportunity to deliver a better, more efficient service to their customers, and may not be maximising their competitiveness.”

IPL is a consultancy, software delivery and support specialist which has already signed up for the QA IT degree apprenticeship. Their Business Services Director, Lyn Penfold, set out some of the benefits which the scheme brings to IPL as a company:

“The QA degree apprenticeship is perfect for our business. The programme means we can get highly-capable staff in the workplace quickly, and help them to learn genuine skills that benefit our business. It’s a fantastic way for talented young people to kick-start their careers in this exciting industry.”

From the other side of the desk, one of IPL’s IT apprentices, Matt Hann, explained why he had signed up for the QA degree:

“The attraction of the apprenticeship scheme was to combine a recognised degree with real workplace experience. Combining the two can be challenging, as you’re doing a full time job alongside study, but it’s incredibly rewarding and I’ve learned a huge amount from being immersed in a workplace environment every day.”

You can find out more about the new QA IT degree apprenticeships and all of their other programmes by visiting the apprenticeship section of their website.

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